"The Queen of Sheba (Bilqis) Facing the Hoopoe, Solomon;'s Messenger," ca. 1590-1600, tinted drawing on paper.

From Iran, Safavid, Qazvin
This drawing depicts an important moment in the Koranic tradition (Sura 27:15-44), when the hoopoe delivers a letter from Solomon to the Queen of Sheba, who is named in this literature as Bilqis (although she remains anonymous in the Koran). In the Koran, Solomon is regarded as not only a great and wealthy king with power over birds, animals and jinns, but also a prophet of God. Believing that the Queen worshipped the sun instead of God, Solomon wrote to the Queen: “In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful, do not exalt yourselves above me, but come to me in all submission” (Sura 27:30-31).

Image credit: Reproduced by permission of the Trustees of the British Museum.

Return to Queen of Sheba article