The Birth of the Prophet
Muhammad Jami‘ al-tavarikh (Compendium of Chronicles)
Iran (Tabriz), c. A.H. 714/A.D. 1314–15
Ink, colors, and gold on paper
Edinburgh University Library (MS Arab 20, folio 42r)
[click images for full object view]
The figural representations of the Prophet in this
manuscript may have been the result of the Ilkhans’ familiarity
with Christianity and Buddhism, which had accustomed them to religious
images. Faced with an Islamic painting tradition bereft of illustrations
of the prophet Muhammad’s birth, here the artist(s) borrowed
from Nativity scenes in Christian manuscripts.
The three women on the left replace the
The Prophet’s grandfather ‘Abd
al-Muttalib, on the right, replaces Joseph.
The half-arcades atop the piers recall
designs originating in indigenous Iranian architecture.
The angel’s censer (incense burner)
is of Western origin.