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Islam Comb, Toothbrush, Prayer Beads

Religious Anthology. Ottoman Empire, AH 1291 (1874 CE). NYPL, Manuscripts and Archives Division.

Pious texts evoke the Prophet's presence through the use of words and symbols. Sometimes prayer books included a number of images with a religious theme. The scales seen here on the right remind viewers of the weighing of souls that will occur at the end of time. On the facing page the artist has depicted the Prophet's prayer niche, prayer mat, comb, toothbrush, and prayer beads, thereby evoking his presence without representing him in a bodily form. The objects depicted also link the Prophet to the performance of the daily prayers expected of all Muslims.

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