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A Safavid Painting of the Prophet Muhammad’s Miʿraj


A Safavid Painting of the Prophet Muhammad’s Miʿraj


Christiane Gruber



This presentation explores a 16th-century Persian manuscript painting that depicts the Prophet Muhammad’s celestial ascension (mi’raj). It focuses in particular on the Prophet’s facial veil and his flaming aureole as well as their relationship to metaphorical expressions as found in Persian Sufi poetry. It also explores the Shi’i symbolism of his headgear, which is known as “Haydar’s Crown” (taj-i Haydari).



Gruber, Christiane. The Praiseworthy One: The Prophet Muhammad in Islamic Texts and Images (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2019).

Gruber, Christiane. “Between Logos (Kalima) and Light (Nur): Representations of the Prophet Muhammad in Islamic Painting,” Muqarnas 26 (2009), 1-34.

Gruber, Christiane. “When Nubuvvat Encounters Valayat: Safavid Paintings of the Prophet Muhammad’s Mi‘raj, ca. 1500-1550,” in The Art and Material Culture of Iranian Shi‘ism: Iconography and Religious Devotion in Shi‘i Islam, ed. Pedram Khosronejad (London: I.B. Tauris, 2011), 46-73.

Gruber, Christiane. “Meraj ii. Illustrations,” in Encyclopedia Iranica, ed. Ehsan Yarshater (New York: Columbia University, 2008).

For a high-resolution image of the painting, go to the British Library MS, Or 2265 f. 195r



Christiane Gruber, “A Safavid Painting of the Prophet Muhammad’s Mi‘raj,” Khamseen: Islamic Art History Online, published 28 August 2020.


Christiane Gruber is Professor of Islamic Art in the History of Art Department at the University of Michigan as well as Founding Director of Khamseen.


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