Carved from a slender piece of wood, this Ethiopian Koranic learning board has been inscribed on both sides with Koranic script. This board, from the ancient city of Harar in eastern Ethiopia - once a great learning centre on the African continent - illustrates the long history of Islam and literacy in Africa.
Boards such as this were most often used by young Muslim students who were learning to read, write and recite Sura or passages from the Koran. Writing boards would also be used in contexts that synthesised earlier animistic beliefs and the later Islamic faith, illustrated by the writing onto boards or animal skin of passages from the Koran or other sources by ritual practitioners visited by clients seeking protection against disease or misfortune.
Estimated Period: 1950’s (Or Before)
111cm x 21.5cm
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Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, 'Koranic Writing Board'