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Prayer Book
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Prayer Book

Description Exhibitions Provenance Credit
Description Walters manuscript W.579 is an illuminated manuscript of a prayer (wird) called Miftah al-najah, attributed to 'Ali ibn Abi Talib, the 4th caliph of Islam. According to the colophon, it was completed by Shaykh Kamal ibn 'Abd al-Haqq al-Sabzawari, the calligrapher and illuminator, in Astarabad (present-day Gorgan, Iran) in 941 AH/AD 1534. The text, divided into 5 compartments, is in calligraphic vocalized Naskh in black ink and vocalized Thuluth in gold ink outlined in black. Illuminated rosettes with colored dots serve as verse markers. The decorated colophon (fol. 8b) is written in Tawqi'/Riqa' in gold ink. Later bequest (waqf) seal impressions of the Vizier al-Shahid 'Ali Pasha, dated 1130 AH/AD 1717, appear on fols. 2a, 2b, and 3a. The brown leather binding with interconnected gold-tooled lobed medallions and discs and doublures with filigree decoration is contemporary with the manuscript.
  • Masterpieces of Ornament. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1988.
  • Bindings from the Islamic World. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1988.
  • Speaking the Word of God: Illuminated Korans from the Walters Art Museum. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. 2007.
Provenance Vizier al-Shahid 'Ali Pasha, ca. 1130 AH/AD 1717 (?) [mode of acquisition unknown] [waqf-seal impression of the Vizier dated 1130 AH/AD 1717 with the original shelf mark 1414 on fols. 2a, 2b, and 3a]; Henry Walters, Baltimore [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters

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941 AH/AD 1534
ink and pigments on laid paper covered with gold-tooled brown leather
(Manuscripts & Rare Books)
Accession Number
Folio H: 9 1/4 x W: 6 1/2 in. (23.5 x 16.5 cm)
Location Within Museum
Not On View


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