Prayers of Devotion
|Book of Prayers|
Octagonal Qur’an Case
Ruby-mounted Agate Pendant
Devotion to the Prophet and the ahl al-bayt (the family of the Prophet) is an important feature of Shi‘a piety and the Sufi tradition. Single calligraphic pages beautifully illuminated with prayers, as well as manuscripts containing the prayers and sayings of the Imams were written during different periods of Muslim history. The 15th-century manuscript containing the sayings of Hazrat ‘Ali is unusual as it is written on parchment, and the book of prayers commissioned by and dedicated to the Qajar monarch Fath ‘Ali Shah represents the finest traditions of illumination and binding of the early 19th century. Similarly, Qur’anic verses, traditions of the Prophet and prayers of the imams are to be found on a variety of portable objets d’art. The talismanic pendant is inscribed with Qur’anic verses and prayers, and the famous Nad-e ‘Ali prayer appears on both the lacquer pen-box and the octagonal Qur’an case.
Book of Prayers, commissioned by Fath ‘Ali Shah Persia, Qajar, 19th century, Arabic text in naskh script within gold clouds, interlinear Persian translation; lacquer binding with gold floral design
Octagonal Qur’an Case, Persia, Qajar, 19th century, decorated with calligraphic Qur’anic inscriptions and prayers
Lacquer Pen-box, signed by Muhammad al-Sultani, Persia, probably Isfahan, Safavid, 17th century, cartouches containing inscriptions in nastaliq script, and decorated with gold foliate motifs