Vintage Islamic Illuminated Quran Teaching Tablet - Morocco, Handpainted
Vintage hand painted hardwood tablet inscribed with the opening verse from the Holy Quran, Bismillah hir-Rahman nir-Rahim. This tablet is circa early to mid-20th century and is from the southern Moroccan desert town of Zagora. Used in schools to teach the Quran, students between the ages of 10 - 17 would study the tablet for one week, then fast for one week, then study the tablet again.
Hand-hewn from a single piece of wood, the tablet is reminiscent of an Illuminated manuscript with intricately hand painted Arabic calligraphy and Islamic design. Slightly polished and smooth from years of use. Tapered from top to bottom, the crest of the frame is painted with salmon, teal, yellow, and spring green paint, with white and gold accents in the center. A braided border is then painted in dark lavender, followed by a frame of spring green, dark green, and red that has the Islamic star symbol Rub el Hizb at each corner.
Dividing each of the stanzas are headers embellished with salmon, orange, and spring green paint. Each main section of text is further decorated in yellow, periwinkle, indigo blue, salmon and pink paint, with additional Rub el Hizb symbols, which indicate the end of a chapter.
There is slight fading and rubbing to the tablet, but the colors are still quite vibrant. There is also a slight warp to the wood, so it does not lie completely flat against a wall. The back of the tablet has additional Islamic calligraphy, written in a much larger hand. While reproductions of tablets such as this are still produced throughout Morocco, it is unusual to find an original in this condition. This tablet was sourced directly from Zagora and is of significant historical and religious value.