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Islamic Wooden Panel Carved with Buraq & Deer
Persia/Iran
19th century

length: 73.4cm, width: 18.2cm

This long wooden panel is beautifully carved on one side with a central buraq figure between a pair of chinkara gazelles. The panel is further embellished with
entwined scrolls and arabesques. The form and motifs are reminiscent of representations seen in Persian miniature paintings.

The
buraq is not mentioned in the Koran, but according to Islamic tradition, it is supposed to have carried the Prophet Muhammad, accompanied by the Angel
Jibril (Gabriel), to the sacred mosque in Mecca and later to the (then) farthest mosque, today known as the Al-aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. The Prophet is then
said to have ascended to heaven from the Temple Mount in Jerusalem with the help of the
buraq, passing through seven heavens, communing with several
angels and prophets along the way, before meeting with God. This miraculous night journey of the Prophet is referred to as the
Mi'raj. Depictions of the buraq
in flight were replicated in Persian and Indian miniature paintings, and even on textiles as far afield as the southern Philippines, where the local population is
largely Moslem. See Piotrovsky & Rogers (2004, p. 254) for what is likely a 17th century Indian depiction.

The panel has a warm patina and probably has been carved from pear wood. It is plain on the reverse and has been drilled with four small holes to allow it to
have been attached. It is not clear whether the panel was intended as a stand alone piece or as part of something larger. It is however a fine example of
Persian carving work. Possibly it is from the Caspian region in northern Iran where wood was in ample supply and there was a thriving wood carving industry.

Provenance: UK art market

References:
Fernando-Amilbangsa, L.,
Visual Arts of the Sulu Archipelago, Ateneo de Manila University Press, 2005.
Piotrovsky, M., & J.M. Rogers,
Heaven on Earth: Art from Islamic Lands, Prestel, 2004.
Rogers, J.M.,
The Arts of Islam: Treasures from the Nasser D. Khalili Collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 2007.

Provenance: UK art market

Inventory no.: 4627

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