"The Mi'raj or The Night Flight of Muhammad on his Steed Buraq", Folio 3v from a Bustan of Sa`di

Calligrapher: Sultan Muhammad Nur (ca. 1472–ca. 1536)

Object Name: Folio from an illustrated manuscript

Date: ca. 1525–35

Geography: Attributed to present-day Uzbekistan and Afghanistan, probably Bukhara and Herat

Medium: Ink, gold, and colors on paper

Dimensions: Painting: H. 7 1/2 in. (19 cm)
W. 5 in. (12.7 cm)
Page: H. 11 in. (27.9 cm)
W. 7 1/4 in. (18.4 cm)
Mat: H. 19 1/4 in. (48.9 cm)
W. 14 1/4 in. (36.2 cm)

Classification: Codices

Credit Line: Purchase, Louis V. Bell Fund and The Vincent Astor Foundation Gift, 1974

Accession Number: 1974.294.2


The heavenly journey of the Prophet forms a centerpiece of Muslim piety. Persian poets from the thirteenth century onward prefaced their epics with a colorful description of the mi'raj, the heavenly journey that brought the Prophet into the immediate presence of God. This miniature is particularly interesting as the Prophet is shown with his face unveiled, riding on the mysterious mount Buraq. Later pictures of Muhammad generally show him with a veil covering his face, and in more recent times even his entire body is usually symbolized by a white cloud or a rose.