I love the bold patterns and colors in this Islamic painting from ca. 1400.
This painting documents the story of Jonah and the Whale as told in the Qur’an (37:139). The story is very similar to the telling of Jonah and the Whale from the Bible. You can read more about it here.
To sum it up, Jonah shirked his responsibility of an important mission, and then he got on a ship. There was a major storm, and the men on the ship believed it was a punishment from God. Jonah was thrown from the ship because he was the one who was believed to be responsible. The storm died down, and then a big fish/whale swallowed Jonah where he spent time praying and repenting. God forgave Jonah and sent him a plant to the shore to help shade him and restore his health. Jonah then fulfilled his mission.
What part of the story do you think the artist is representing here?
This is the end of the story when the whale returns Jonah to the shore. You can see the plant sent from God sprouting up above him, and an angel hands Jonah some clothes. Jonah reaches out for the clothes tired, modest, and humbled.