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Illustrated Manuscript of the Dala'il al-Khayrat (The Ways of Edification) of al-Jazuli

Arts of the Islamic World

The Dala’il al-Khayrat (The Ways of Edification) of the Sufi mystic Muhammad ibn Sulayman al-Jazuli (d. 1465) is a prayer manual venerating the prophet Muhammad. The text includes a collection of prayers for the Prophet, a description of his tomb, his names and epithets, and other devotional material. It became the center of a popular religious brotherhood, the Ashab al-Dalil, which revolved around the mystical Islamic practice of dhikr, or recitation, of this book of religious piety.

This manuscript is an Ottoman copy of al-Jazuli’s text, opened to an illustrated page containing a depiction of Mecca. Situated at the center of the mosque courtyard, the Kacba—the focal point of Muslim prayer—is marked for recognition by its black and gold cloth, while Ottoman-style minarets punctuate the surrounding walls. This stylized depiction favors essential information over naturalistic representation, recalling a rich history of geographic manuscripts with similar illustrations in the Ottoman world dating back to the sixteenth century.
MEDIUM Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper; tooled and gilded leather binding
  • Place Made: Turkey
  • DATES late 18th century
    DYNASTY Ottoman
    PERIOD Ottoman
    DIMENSIONS 6 3/8 x 4 1/8 in. (16.2 x 10.5 cm)  (show scale)
    CREDIT LINE Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Charles K. Wilkinson
    PROVENANCE Prior to 1970, provenance not yet documented; by 1970, acquired by Charles K. Wilkinson and Irma Bezold Wilkinson (Mrs. Charles K. Wilkinson) of New York, NY; May 18, 1971, gift of Charles K. Wilkinson and Irma Bezold Wilkinson to the Brooklyn Museum.
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    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION Illustrated Manuscript of the Dala'il al-Khayrat (The Ways of Edification) of al-Jazuli, late 18th century. Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper; tooled and gilded leather binding, 6 3/8 x 4 1/8 in. (16.2 x 10.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Charles K. Wilkinson, 71.49.1 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 71.49.1_view01_PS11.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 71.49.1_view01_PS11.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2022
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    RIGHTS STATEMENT No known copyright restrictions
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