This talk considers a tiny Safavid Qur’an preserved in the Lilly Library at Indiana University. Measuring an astonishing 6.3 by 5.7 cm, the manuscript imbricates the amuletic function inherent to the Qur’an with a prognostic capacity through the inclusion of a falnama (Book of Divination) attributed to the sixth Shi’i Imam Jafar al-Sadiq (d. 765) upon the conclusion of the Qur’anic text. This presentation will contextualize the small-scale manuscript and its falnama within Safavid bibliomantic practices, which arguably reached a height of popularity during the reign of Shah Tahmasp (r. 1524-76) in sixteenth-century Persia. In so doing, it contrasts a miniaturized specimen against alternate falnama formats and theorizes the impact of drastically reduced scale on the user’s divinatory experience.
Heather is an Assistant Professor of Art History at OCAD U, where she serves as a core faculty member for the Honours BA program in Visual and Critical Studies and as a graduate faculty member of the MA program in Art, Design and New Media Studies. Her research encompasses themes related to Christian and Islamic cross- and inter-cultural relations in Medieval Mediterranean and Italian Renaissance Art and Architecture. She has published articles on medieval eschatological imagery in Al-Andalus, the miniaturization of Islamic manuscripts, and the representation of Islam in Dante’s Inferno. Her research has been funded by the Kunsthistorisches Institut, affiliated with the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, in Florence, Italy; the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada; the Royal Historical Society of Great Britain; and the Qatar Foundation.