Qur’anic Writing Tablet (Primary Title)

Unknown (Artist)

Stories
19th-20th century
Hausa (Nigeria)
wood, leather, string, pigment
Nigeria
Overall: 26 × 10 × 7/8 in. (66.04 × 25.4 × 2.22 cm)
95.83
Not on view
Writing tablets like this one are used widely throughout Islamic areas of West Africa to teach students penmanship and to help them memorize verses of the Qur’an. This example was probably made in the city of Kano, an Islamic center in northern Nigeria that is also a center of Hausa culture. The curved base allows the user to comfortably rest the board against the waist or the legs, to stabilize it while writing. The ink used to write the words of the Qur’an on the tablet is believed to have protective power and is sometimes rinsed off with water and consumed as a form of spiritual medicine.
Arthur and Margaret Glasgow Fund
“The Ancient Art of Mali.” Richmond, Virginia: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. (poster)
Image released via Creative Commons CC-BY-NC

Some object records are not complete and do not reflect VMFA's full and current knowledge. VMFA makes routine updates as records are reviewed and enhanced.