23 results
"Munajat" of 'Abdallah Ansari
This calligraphic fragment includes a maxim drawn from the Munajat (Supplications) of the great Persian mystic and scholar Khwajah 'Abdallah Ansari (died 1088). The two lines describe the benefits of prayer and generosity. The two lines of text are executed in black nasta'liq script on beige paper and framed by delicate cloud bands on a gold illuminated background. The text panel is framed by a variety of borders and pasted to a sheet of purple paper decorated with gold interlacing flower motifs. Between and below the two main lines ...
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Safinah Fragment
This calligraphic fragment is the first page of an album in a longitudinal shape (safinah). At the top are a fine illuminated panel and finial (sarloh) with gold and blue flower and vine motifs. In the upper and lower corners, two gold and blue illuminated triangles (or thumb pieces) fill the spaces between the rectangular frame and the diagonal lines of text. The text is written in black nasta'liq on beige paper. It includes three bayts (verses) praising God and describing humans' inability to comprehend His power: "Praise ...
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Verses in Persian and Chaghatay
This calligraphic fragment includes a number of verses in Persian and Chaghatay Turkish (Turkish spoken in Central Asia). A continuous Persian lyrical poem (ghazal) is written in the top and bottom horizontal rectangular panels. Another ghazal appears written in diagonal in the right and left vertical columns. Both ghazals are by the famous Persian poet Shaykh Sa'di (died 1292) and address moral issues. In the central text panel, verses in Chaghatay Turkish are written in black nasta'liq script on beige paper, surrounded by cloud bands on a gold ...
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Eulogy to a Ruler
This calligraphic fragment includes a central panel with a eulogy to a king written in the "hanging" ta'liq script. Except for one line in black ink, all other horizontal and diagonal lines are written in white and outlined in black. Above the text panel appears, divided into two columns, a bayt (verse) by the great Persian poet Niẓāmī Ganjavī (died 1202 or 1203) about the power of miracles. The bayt is in black nasta'liq script on beige paper. Around the text panel is a blue border inscribed with ...
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Verses by Jami
This calligraphic fragment includes verses composed by the Persian poet Jami (died 1492 [897 AH]), whose full name, Mawlana 'Abd al-Rahman Jami, is noted in the topmost panel. In larger script appears a ghazal (lyric poem) in which a lover sighs about the lack of news from his beloved. The central text frames are bordered on the right and left by illuminated panels and contain a ruba'i (iambic pentameter quatrain) written in smaller script. The quatrain encourages true and eternal love of God rather than passing infatuations: "Every beautiful ...
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Ghazals of Asifi
This calligraphic fragment includes a variety of ghazals (lyric poems) from the Compendium of Poems (Divan) of the Persian poet Asifi. A student of the famous poet Jami (died 1492 [897 AH]) in Herat (present-day Afghanistan), Asifi remained in the Timurid capital city until his death (1517 [923 AH]), even during and after the Uzbek invasions. These particular verses on the fragment's recto and verso portray a lover's madness and his complaints about the pains of separation from the object of his affection. At the end of the ...
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Black Practice
This calligraphic sheet includes a number of diagonal words and letters used in combinations facing upwards and downwards on the folio. The common Persian cursive script nasta'liq is favored over the more "broken" shikastah script. These sheets--known as siyah mashq (literally “black practice”) in Persian--were entirely covered with writing as a means of practicing calligraphy and conserving paper. In time, they became collectible items and thus were signed and dated (this fragment, however, does not appear to be signed or dated). Many fragments such as this one were given ...
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Prayers for Safety and Success
This calligraphic fragment includes verses in Persian praying for the patron's personal well-being and the prosperity of his kingdom. The verses read: "May the world be (your) fortune and the firmament (your) friend / May the World-Creator (God) protect (you) / May all your works be successful / May God of the World look after you / May your heart and your kingdom be collected and well-frequented / May division stay far away from your realm." The verses are executed in black nasta'liq script on beige paper. They are framed by cloud bands ...
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Verses by Hilālī
This calligraphic fragment includes three distinct text panels all executed in Nasta'liq script: one written in black ink on blue paper, another in white ink on beige paper with two illuminated triangles (or thumb pieces) in the upper and lower corners, and a third (lowest on the page) written in black ink on beige paper. All three panels were cut out and placed together, provided with a gold frame, and pasted to a larger sheet of paper decorated with flecks of gold. The blue text panel includes verses composed ...
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Grammar and Its Standards
This anonymous work from 1553 is a Persian grammar, written in Arabic. It includes some Arabic adjectives translated into Persian, and is written in a poor nasta’līq script. The manuscript is from the Bašagić Collection of Islamic Manuscripts in the University Library of Bratislava, Slovakia, which was inscribed on the UNESCO Memory of the World register in 1997. Safvet beg Bašagić (1870-1934) was a Bosnian scholar, poet, journalist, and museum director who assembled a collection of 284 manuscript volumes and 365 print volumes that reflect the development of Islamic ...
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University Library in Bratislava
Divination by the Qur'an
This single sheet of a Fal-i Qur'an lays out in rhyming Persian distichs (couplets) the means of fal (divination) by letters selected at random when opening to a page of the Qur'an. This folio originally was included at the end of a Safavid Persian Qur'an, immediately after the last surah (chapter), Surat al-Nas, and a closing prayer on behalf of the Prophet and his family. The layout of the divination text, the script, and the remaining original illumination in the text frame are typical of fals placed ...
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Interlinear Qur'an (5: 89-95)
This interlinear Qur'an fragment of Surat al-Ma'idah (The table/the repast) is believed to belong to a manuscript dating from A.H. 1207 (A.D. 1792–93). The Qur'an includes translation in Persian written in complete sentences in red ink between each verse of the Arabic original. The late 18th-century practice of translation (or even paraphrasing) reflects the development of the production of interlinear Qur'ans over the centuries. Some of the earliest bilingual Qur'ans include only word-by-word translations; this is especially the case for Qur ...
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Levha, or Calligraphic Panel
This calligraphic panel includes an Arabic saying written in black Nasta'liq script on a brown background framed in blue and pink borders decorated with gold designs. The lower right and left corners of the panel are lost. The saying reads: “I entrust my affairs to God. Truly, God looks after His servants.” This particular prayer, which places complete trust in God, typically is recited by an individual as a du'a (pious invocation) to the Lord. Several mystical groups, such as the Naqshbandi order of Sufis, also recite this ...
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Military Document
This sanad (document) is in the form of a namah (letter) written in black Nasta'liq script and outlined in cloud bands on a gold background. The letter is from a ruler to a certain Mirza Yadigar, from whom he requests military assistance. In response, the ruler sends a reputable fighter named Mirza Qilich (qilich means "sword" in Turkish) to the ruler. Known as Rustam-i Zaman (the Rustam of his day, Rustam being a great Persian hero) because of his fighting prowess, Mirza Qilich provides military assistance to vanquish the ...
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Quatrain on Divine Mercy
This calligraphic fragment includes a ruba'i (iambic pentameter quatrain), a few words of which are lost due to water damage. The poem begins with an invocation to God as "Ya Malak al-Muluk" (the King of Kings) and then praises God's mercy as a torrential rain, which allows humans to find fana' (annihilation) in the Divine. This spiritual blossoming resembles the growth of plants on the surface of a hard stone. On the back of this fragment appears the inscribed attribution "Mawlana Sultan Mīr ʻAlī," intended to identify the ...
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The Sound of Insanity
This calligraphic fragment includes four verses of poetry in Persian describing the simple mark and sound of insanity (i.e., the chain). The verses read: “I and the chain that / Were walking and lamenting together / (that is what) causes the separation between craziness / and enjoyment and wisdom.” The text is written in nasta'liq script in white ink on a red ground. The lines of text are separated by green or blue bands decorated with flower-and-vine motifs painted in gold. In the lower-right corner appears the calligrapher's signature: katabahu ...
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Quatrain Praising Vision
This calligraphic fragment includes a ruba'i (iambic pentameter quatrain), praising vision as the most keen of the human senses. The text is written in black Nasta'liq script on a beige paper decorated with gold paint. The text panel is framed by two borders in beige and gold and pasted to a blue paper decorated with gold flower and vine motifs. Beginning with an invocation to huwa al-mu'izz (God as the Glorified), the verses read: “The heart is a place of sadness and the eye is the site ...
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Ghazals of Amir Khusraw Dihlavi
This calligraphic fragment includes a number of ghazals (lyric poems) composed by the Persian poet Amīr Khusraw Dihlavī (circa 1253–1325), whose pen name or signature "Khusraw" appears at the top of the central column of diagonal verses. The ghazals are executed in black Nasta'liq script in three columns, with the verses appearing on a beige paper and framed by cloud bands on a background painted in gold. Several triangular panels fill in the spaces remaining at the intersection of the diagonal verses and the rectangular frame. These panels ...
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Comment on the Lights of Revelations
This Ottoman manuscript is a ḥāshiyah (gloss) on the commentary on the Qur’an entitled Anwār al-tanzīl, which was composed by ‘Abd Allāh al-Bayḍawī, who died in about 685 AH (1286 AD). The gloss was written by Kemalpaşazade (died 940 AH [1533 AD]), and the present copy was transcribed from the author's holograph in 966 AH (1558 AD) by ‘Uthmān ibn Manṣūr. The text is written in Turkish Nasta’līq script in black ink, with the words qāla (I said) and aqūlu (I said), being indicators of quotations, in ...
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Walters Art Museum
Quatrain Eulogizing a King
This calligraphic fragment includes a ruba'i (iambic pentameter quatrain), in honor of a king. Written diagonally in black Nasta'liq script and framed by cloud bands on a rather crudely painted purple background, the verses read: “Oh King, may the mornings of your fortune / Last until the morning of [the Day of] Gathering / May good luck take you to the utmost limit of hope / And may the evil eye not reach you.” With these words, the poet wishes the king good fortune until the end of time, literally until ...
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Burning and Melting
This manuscript is an illuminated and illustrated copy of the poem Sūz va gudāz (Burning and melting) by Naw’ī Khabūshānī, who died in 1019 AH (1610 AD). It recounts the love story of a Hindu girl who burns herself on the funeral pyre of her betrothed. The codex was written in Nasta’līq script in black ink by Ibn Sayyid Murād al-Ḥusaynī and illustrated by Muḥammad ‘Alī Mashhadī in 1068 AH (1657 AD). According to the colophon, Ibn Sayyid Murād al-Ḥusaynī copied the manuscript for the painter Muḥammad ‘Alī ...
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Walters Art Museum