Picturing Mohammed

The Islamic proscription against depicting human forms, especially that of the Prophet, has never been as strong in the Safavid Empire (Persia/Iran) as it was in the others (Ottoman and Mughal). Knowing this, it is perhaps not surprising that an Iranian woman artist named Oranous can openly paint a depiction of the Prophet Mohammed.
One of the arguments made is that because the painting is of a young Mohammed, before his calling to "recite," he is not technically yet the Prophet... despite the glowy halo.
Also note that the color green is traditionally associated with the Prophet and his city of Medina.

What is surprising to me is that she can sell this painting online for money.

What also surprised me is how "feminine" he looks. Yes, he is young here, but this is a man who led a ragtag bunch of followers onto several decisive victories against militarily superior forces. I always pictured him as strong, charismatic and virile.

But maybe that reveals more about my gender biases than anything else. And it also reminds me that many depictions of Jesus are quite feminine looking, what with the long hair and the doe eyes and the slight frame. In fact, I can't think of a single depiction where I could believe that he was a "warrior" leading his "Christian soldiers" against the forces of evil. Instead, what I see is Jesus with his arms outstretched towards us, nurturing, motherly... The virtues that we ascribe to Jesus are virtues that are normally assigned to women.

Wonder if the conservative "family values" Christians ever think about that?

Forum Activity

Fri, 10/31/2014 - 08:11
Mon, 06/16/2014 - 07:09
Tue, 10/01/2013 - 22:01


wizdUUm.net is made possible in part by generous support from the Fahs Collaborative