45 results in English
Book of Hours
This finely illuminated and iconographically rich book of hours was made in England at the end of the 13th century. The manuscript is incomplete and mis-bound. The original sequence of the parts of the manuscript cannot be reconstructed with certainty. The Abbreviated Hours were followed by the Hours of the Holy Spirit, the Seven Penitential Psalms, the litany and collects, the Fifteen Gradual Psalms, the Office of the Dead, and the Hours of Jesus Crucified. Whether the Prayers to the Crucified Christ, which were followed by the lections in the ...
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Bible Pictures by William de Brailes
This manuscript comprises 24 leaves of Bible pictures by William de Brailes, an English artist active in Oxford in the middle of the 13th century. Seven leaves from the same set of images are now in the Musée Marmottan in Paris. These 31 leaves are all that remain of an image cycle that once contained at least 98 miniatures, and which was the longest cycle of Bible miniatures surviving from the 13th century in England. In all probability these Bible pictures were actually prefatory matter to a psalter (now Stockholm ...
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Homilary
This richly illuminated 14th-century German homilary is particularly interesting for its rare bifolium of drawings bound in at the front of the book. The headgear worn by the nuns in the drawings is characteristic of Cistercensian and Premostratensian nuns in northern Germany as early as circa 1320. Evidence for dating and localization is also found in the manuscript's relationship with a second homilary in the Bodleian Library (Oxford, Bodleian Library, Ms. Douce 185). Despite minor codicological differences—page layout, text-block dimensions, and ruling—it seems likely that the two ...
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Loftie Hours
This mid-15th-century illuminated book of hours is written entirely in Dutch on fine parchment and is remarkable for its 18 grisaille miniatures. This technique, wherein the figures are modeled primarily in a gray wash, became a favorite in the Netherlands. The hand behind the miniatures in this manuscript has been identified with one of a group of artists known as the Masters of the Delft Grisailles. The manuscript has been grouped with more than a dozen related works, including New York, Morgan Library Ms. M.349; London, Victoria and Albert ...
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Duke Albrecht's Table of Christian Faith (Winter Part)
This manuscript is a document of the first importance in the history of Dutch manuscript illumination and contains an important medieval Dutch devotional text. The Tafel van den Kersten ghelove (Table of Christian faith) is a compendium of Christian knowledge written by a learned Dominican, Dirc van Delf. The text is in two parts, one for winter, another for summer. This manuscript is of the winter part and is incomplete, omitting the prologue and chapters 13, 14, and 35−57; chapters 23−24 are in inverse order. The arms of ...
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Missal of Eberhard von Greiffenklau
The Missal of Eberhard von Greiffenklau is a masterpiece of Dutch manuscript painting. It was originally produced in the second quarter of the 15th century and features work by the Masters of Zweder van Culemborg, as well as the celebrated Master of Catherine of Cleves, linking it to possibly the finest Dutch illuminated manuscript ever made: The Hours of Catherine of Cleves of circa 1440 (Morgan Library & Museum, M.917 and M.945). The extremely elaborate Missal is illuminated with one full-page miniature, fifty-two column miniatures and sixty-eight historiated initials ...
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Claricia Psalter
The Claricia Psalter was made for, and most likely by, a group of Benedictine nuns at the abbey of Saints Ulrich and Afra in Augsburg, Germany. Although the psalter itself, along with its calendar, dates to the late-12th or early 13th century, a number of texts and prayers were added in the mid-13th century. Most striking about the manuscript are its illuminations, which include a prefatory cycle, full-page miniatures, and historiated initials. While all are Romanesque in style, they vary greatly in quality and technique, and three or four different ...
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Melk Missal
This missal, which dates to the late-12th or early 13th century, was made for the Benedictine abbey of Melk (or, possibly, Seitenstetten) in Lower Austria, as indicated by the inclusion of the patron saints of Melk, Peter and Paul, and Cholomannus (folio 212 recto). The surviving volume of a multi-volume missal, the manuscript contains only the ordinary of the mass and the "summer part," with the temporale running from Holy Saturday through the Sunday after Trinity Sunday and the sanctorale beginning with the feast of Primus and Felicianus (June 9 ...
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Carrow Psalter
This English manuscript was made in East Anglia in the mid-13th century for a patron with special veneration for Saint Olaf, whose life and martyrdom are prominently portrayed in the Beatus initial of Psalm 1. Known as the Carrow Psalter, because of its later use by the nunnery of Carrow near Norwich, it is more accurately described as a psalter-hours, as it contains, among other texts, the Office of the Dead and the Hours of the Virgin. The manuscript is striking for its rich variety of illuminations, including full-page cycles ...
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Almugavar Hours
This book of hours was produced circa 1510−20 for a member of the Almugavar (or Almogàver) family of Catalonia, whose coat of arms appears throughout the manuscript in the borders of the lavish full-page miniatures. There are 26 full-page polychrome miniatures (three are missing), of which six were removed from the original quire structure after portions of the miniatures were excised, and then returned to the manuscript, having been pasted onto heavy card-stock folios. There are also 18 full-page incipits, of which three include historiated vignettes, and numerous folios ...
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Prayer Book
This illuminated prayer book, made in the Netherlands in the early 16th century, contains Latin prayers and passages from the Gospels. Although small in scale, it is notable for its abundance of illuminations, with nearly 60 extant small miniatures. Full-color portraits embellish the prayers to the Virgin and suffrages, while the images within the Gospel narrative are rendered primarily in grisaille, a nearly entirely gray monochrome technique. The last folios include a trompe-l'oeil foliate margin and a Crucifixion that seems to be a later addition. Throughout the book, gold ...
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"Imperial" Menologion
This manuscript, created in the Byzantine Empire in the second quarter of the 11th century, contains the biographies of saints whom the church commemorates in the month of January. It was originally part of a set containing volumes for each month of the year. A companion volume, with texts for March, now survives in Moscow (State Historical Museum, MS gr. 183). Each chapter in both manuscripts opens with a miniature depicting the death of a respective saint, or less often, another significant event from his or her life. Each text ...
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Trebizond Gospels
This Gospel book was probably made in Constantinople in the mid-12th century and is remarkable for the fine execution and monumental quality of its full-page miniatures. The opening for the Gospel of Matthew is missing, but the other three Gospels are prefaced with a pair of miniatures each: the respective Evangelist on the left and a scene from the Gospel story on the right. The combination of Saint John with the Raising of Lazarus is one found only in this manuscript. The text was copied by two scribes with distinctly ...
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Book of Hours
In the Byzantine world, this book would have been known as a horologion, or book of hours. Illustrated books of hours in Greek are extremely rare, and this example is one of only two surviving horologia with image cycles. The manuscript includes many full-page miniatures, which show interaction between the late-Byzantine and Gothic artistic styles. The manuscript may have been copied on the island of Crete, which in the 15th century was under Venetian rule. Unlike the images found in Western books of hours, which typically are drawn from the ...
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Gospels
Dated to the tenth century, this manuscript is the oldest Armenian codex in North America and the fifth oldest among documented Armenian Gospel books. The principal colophon, on folio 2 verso, records that Sargis the priest completed the text in 415 (966). Within the framed area, the commission of the codex is described: a priest, whose name was replaced by the later owner T’oros, commissioned the work "as decoration and for the splendor of [the] holy church and for the pleasure of the congregation of Rznēr." As the codex ...
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T'oros Roslin Gospels
This Armenian manuscript was made in 1262 by T’oros Roslin, the celebrated illuminator who extended the iconographic repertoire by defining a narrative Gospel cycle beyond the traditional portraits of the Evangelists. This signed manuscript was created at the scriptorium of Hromkla (present-day Rum Kalesi, Turkey), which became the leading artistic center of Armenian Cilicia under the rule of Catholicos Constantine I (1221-67). As an extensive colophon starting on folio 406 verso explains, T’oros created this manuscript under commission from the nephew of Constantine, a priest also named T ...
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Reichenau Gospels
This mid-11th century Gospel Book is believed to come from the Abbey of Reichenau, on Lake Constance in Germany, on the basis of its script and illumination. The decoration of the manuscript places it in the so-called Luithar school of Reichenau. Its ornamental motifs compare very closely with those in Munich, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek Clm. 4453, and its palette is nearly identical to that in the Reichenau manuscripts of the Bamberg Cathedral Treasury. The work includes full-page miniatures of Saints Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and of the Holy Gospel of ...
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Speculum Virginum
This manuscript, written at the Cistercian abbey of Himmerode in Germany in the early 13th century, is one of 22 surviving Latin copies of the Speculum virginum (Mirror for virgins). Attributed to Conrad of Hirsau, the text was written in the first half of the 12th century as a guide for nuns, offering them theological lessons in the form of a hypothetical conversation between a teacher, Peregrinus, and his student, Theodora. The 12 illustrations in the manuscript portray the protagonists as well as the mystical visions and diagrams they discuss ...
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Cosmography
Created in England in the late-12th century, this manuscript was intended to be a scientific textbook for monks. The manuscript is brief, at nine folios, and was designed as a compendium of cosmographical knowledge drawn from early Christian writers, such as Bede and Isidore, as well as the later Abbo of Fleury. Those writers, in turn, drew on classical sources, such as Pliny the Elder, for their knowledge but adapted it to be understood through the filter of Christianity. The 20 complex diagrams accompany and help to illustrate the texts ...
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Marginal Psalter
This manuscript, illustrated with 155 marginal paintings, is one the few surviving “marginal psalters,” in which images provide a pictorial commentary on the Biblical text. Other examples include the Khludov Psalter (circa 850, Moscow, State Historical Museum, Muz. 129), the Barberini Psalter (circa 1050, Vatican City, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Vat. Barb. Gr. 372), the Theodore Psalter (1066, London, British Library, Add. Ms. 19,352), and a Cyrillic psalter made in Kiev (1397, Saint Petersburg, National Library of Russia, cod. OLDP, F6). The marginal psalter of the Walters Museum was apparently ...
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Corvey Gospel Fragment
This manuscript consists of four folios from a Gospel book that was likely made at the monastery of Corvey in western Germany during the mid-to-late tenth century. Dating to the reign of Otto I, these pages are a magnificent example of early Ottonian manuscript illumination. The heavily ornamented pages, which introduce the Gospels of Luke and John, shine with gold and jewel-like colors against dyed purple grounds. These pages combine monumental classicizing square capitals on purple grounds with rich and complex interlace. This fragment contains the opening pages of Luke ...
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Ethiopian Gospels
This Gospel book was written in Tigray, northern Ethiopia, in the early 14th century, and was once owned by the church of Saint George in Debre Mark'os. It was written by the scribe Mäṭre Krǝstos in the official liturgical language of Ethiopia, Gǝ‛ǝz. Most notable is its prefatory image cycle, which makes references to holy places in Jerusalem, such as Golgotha and the Holy Sepulcher, as they appeared in the sixth century. The manuscript therefore appears to be based on a sixth-century exemplar containing images connected to the ...
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Ethiopian Gospels
This large Ethiopian Gospel book was made in the first half of the 16th century and is written in Gǝ‛ǝz, the traditional liturgical language of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. Containing 11 full-page miniatures, six canon tables, and five elaborately ornamented ḥarägs (headpieces), this manuscript represents the golden age of what has been termed the Gunda Gunde style, named after a monastery in the district of Agame. The Gunda Gunde style is characterized by bold blocks of color defined by detailed, and often delicate, linear motifs. Figures are highly stylized ...
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Fathers of the Solovetsky Monastery and Their Sufferings
This manuscript was made around 1800 by an often-persecuted group of Russian Christians, the Old Believers. Because books were frequently confiscated from this group and its members were denied the use of printing presses, they continued to write important books such as this one by hand. This text chronicles and illustrates the story of a group of monks at the Solovetsky Monastery who opposed the controversial reforms introduced by Nikon (Patriarch of Moscow, 1652−58) and who endured a siege of eight years (1668−76) before they were finally betrayed ...
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The Burdah Poem
This illuminated small codex contains a famous poem in honor of the Prophet Muhammad popularly known as “Qaṣīdat al-Burdah” (The poem of the mantle), which was composed by Sharaf al-Dīn Muḥammad al-Būṣīrī (died 694 AH [1294 CE]). This copy was executed in a variety of scripts, probably in Iran, by Ḥabīb Allāh ibn Dūst Muḥammad al-Khwārizmī in the 11th century AH (17th century CE). The first page (folio 1b) of the manuscript features an illuminated rectangular headpiece with five inner panels of text executed in the following scripts: muhaqqaq (gold ...
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The Qur’an
This manuscript is a fragment of the Qur'an, consisting of chapters 19 (Sūrat Maryam) through 23 (Sūrat al-mu’minūn). It was produced in the Maghreb and dates from the 12th century AH (18th century AD). The text is written in a large Maghrebī script, with vocalization in red, green, and yellow ink on Italian paper. The codex opens with an illuminated chapter heading for chapter 19 written in the New Abbasid (broken cursive) style (folio 1b) in gold ink within a decorative headpiece. The titles of other chapters are ...
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The Key to Success, Also Known As the Medium to All Parties and Attainment of Prosperity
This illuminated manuscript is of a wird (prayer) called "Miftāḥ al-najāḥ al-mukanná bi-al-wasīlah ilá kull ḥizb wa-falāḥ", attributed to ‘Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib, the fourth caliph of Islam. According to the colophon, this work was completed by Shaykh Kamāl ibn ‘Abd al-Ḥaqq al-Sabzawārī, the calligrapher and illuminator, in Astarabad (present-day Gorgan, Iran) in 941 AH (1534 AD). The text, divided into five compartments, is in calligraphic vocalized Naskh script in black ink and vocalized Thuluth in gold ink outlined in black. Illuminated rosettes with colored dots serve as verse markers ...
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Amplification of the Poem, the Burdah, Or the Expansion of the Bright Stars in the Praise of the Finest of Mankind, the Prophet Muhammad
This manuscript is a copy of the poem in honor of the Prophet Muhammad, which is popularly known as Qaṣīdat al-burdah (The poem of the mantle). It was written by Sharaf al-Dīn Muḥammad al-Būṣīrī (died 694 AH [1294 AD]). The poem has a takhmīs (amplification, or expansion of the poem) by Naṣīr al-Dīn Muḥammad al-Fayyūmī. The amplification and the text of the Qaṣīdat al-burdah were written in Naskh and Thuluth scripts respectively by Riḍwān ibn Muḥammad al-Tabīzī in 767 AH (1366 AD), probably for the Mawlawī (Mevlevi) Library in Konya ...
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The Guide to Benevolent Deeds and Rising Lights in the Prayers on the Chosen Prophet
This illuminated manuscript is a copy of Dalā’il al-khayrāt (Collection of prayers for the Prophet Muhammad), which was composed by Muḥammad ibn Sulayman al-Jazūlī (died 870 AH [1465 AD]). It was written in black Naskh script in the 11th century AH (17th century AD) in Ottoman Turkey. The prayers ask for blessings for the Prophet, and the individual reciting the prayers would also receive God’s blessings. Like many copies of this text, this manuscript includes additional devotional material, such as lists of al-asma al-sharifa (the noble names). It ...
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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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Jokes Relating to the Commentary on Al-Mataalia and Its Honorable Marginal Notes
The present work is a further commentary on the ḥāshiyah (gloss) by al-Sayyid al-Sharīf al-Jurjānī (died 816 AH [1413 AD]) on the Lawāmi’ al-asrār by Qutb al-Dīn al-Taḥtānī al-Rāzī (died 766 AH [1364 AD]). The latter is, in turn, a commentary on a book of logic entitled Maṭāli’ al-anwār by Sirāj al-Dīn Maḥmūd al-Urmawī (died 682 AH [1283 AD]). The scribe of this work, who may also have been the author, was Muhammad ibn Pir Ahmad al-Shahir bi-Ibn Arghun al-Shirazi. Written for the library of the Ottoman Sultan Selim I ...
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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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Album
This muraqqa’ (album) of calligraphy in an accordion format was compiled in Ottoman Turkey in the 12th century AH (18th century AD). The medium is ink and pigments on paper mounted on thin pasteboard. It consists, in part, of leaves bearing fragmentary passages from the Qur’an, from chapter 2 (Sūrat al-baqarah), verses 65–68, and chapter 4 (Sūrat al-nisā’), verses 103–6. Also included are the hadith (the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad), and two sheets of karalama (pen exercises). The Qur'anic verses and the passages of hadith ...
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The Eloquent Prosody in the 40 Verses
This manuscript is an Ottoman Turkish commentary on forty verses of the Qur'an, with hadith (the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad) and verse citations by Okçuzade Mehmet Şahî, who died in 1039 AH (1629 AD). This copy was made in the 11th century AH (17th AD). The text is written in Naskh script in black and red ink. The waqf (bequest) stamp of al-Wazīr al-Shahīd ‘Alī Pāshā, dated 1130 AH (1717 AD), appears on folios 1a, 1b, and 2a. The name of a former owner, Sayyid Burhān al-Dīn, and ...
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Two Works on Islamic Beliefs and Practices
This codex comprises two works on Islamic beliefs and practices by the Ottoman writer Aḥmet bin Muḥammed Şemsī Pāşā, who died in 990 AH (1580 AD). These works are entitled Tercümet ül-Viḳāye (The translation of “Wiqāyat al-Riwāyah”) and I’tiḳādiyāt (Beliefs), as inscribed in the headings on folios 2b and 29b, respectively. Both texts were copied in black Nasta’līq script in the 10th century AH (16th century AD). On folio 2a is a note of approval by the famous Ottoman jurist Abū al-Su’ūd (Ebussuud) Efendi (died 982 AH ...
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Qur’an
This large-format illuminated Timurid copy of the Qur’an is believed to have been produced in northern India in the 15th century. The manuscript opens with a series of illuminated frontispieces. The main text is written in a large, vocalized polychrome muhaqqaq script. Marginal explanations of the readings of particular words and phrases are in thuluth and naskh scripts, and there is interlinear Persian translation in red naskh script. The fore-edge flap of the gold-tooled brown leather binding is inscribed with verses 77 through 80 from surah 56 (Sūrat al-wāqi ...
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Memoirs of Babur
Recognized as one of the world’s great autobiographical memoirs, the Bāburnāmah is the story of Zahīr al-Dīn Muhammad Bābur, who was born in 1483 and ruled from the age of 11 until his death in 1530. Babur conquered northern India and established the Mughal Empire (or Timurid-Mughal Empire). Originally from Fergana in Central Asia, Babur descended on his father’s side from Timur (Tamerlaine) and on his mother’s from Chingiz (Ghengis) Khan. Babur wrote his memoir in Chagatai, or Old Turkish, which he called Turkic, and it was ...
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The Khamsah of Amīr Khusraw Dihlavī
This is a deluxe copy of the Khamsah (quintet) of Amīr Khusraw Dihlavī (circa 1253–1325), who was India’s foremost Sufi poet who wrote in Persian. His quintet is a retelling of the five stories by 12th-century poet Nizāmī Ganjavī. The manuscript was written in nasta‘līq script by one of the greatest calligraphers of the Mughal atelier, Muhammad Husayn al-Kashmīrī, who was honored with the epithet Zarrīn Qalam (Golden Pen). This copy of Dihlavī's Khamsah probably was produced in Lahore (present-day Pakistan) in the late 16th century ...
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Mihr and Mushtari
This manuscript is an illustrated copy of the well-known poem recounting the platonic love story between Mihr (the Sun), the son of Shāhpūr, and his vizier's son Mushtarī (Jupiter). The story of 90 chapters was composed by Muhammad ibn Ahmad ‘Assār Tabrīzī, who died in around 1382. The present copy was written in nasta‘līq script in 1476 by Murshid al-Kātib, who came from Shiraz (in present-day Iran). Considering the number of surviving manuscripts in which this calligrapher’s name is found, it seems he was particularly prolific. The ...
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Collection of Poems by Jāmī
This work dating from the 16th century is an illuminated and illustrated copy of the first collection of poetry (called Dīvān-i avval or Fātihat al-shabāb) by Nūr al-Dīn ‘Abd al-Rahmān Jāmī (1414–92), a great Persian poet, scholar, and mystic, who lived most of his life in Herat, in present-day Afghanistan. According to the colophon (folio 306a), the manuscript was copied by the illustrious Safavid calligrapher Shāh Mahmūd Nīshāpūrī, who died in the mid-1560s. The codex opens with a double-page illustrated frontispiece followed by a double-page illuminated incipit. There are ...
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Collection of Poems by Hasan Dihlavī
This is an illuminated and illustrated Mughal copy of a dīvān (collection of poems) by the eminent poet and hagiographer of Islamic India, Hasan Dihlavī, who died in about 1338. The manuscript was written in nasta‘līq script by ‘Abd Allāh Mushkīn Qalam (Amber-Scented Pen), in Allāhābād in 1011 AH (1602 AD), according to the colophon on folio 187a, although the illustration on that page identifies the calligrapher as Mir `Abd Allah Katib. Both were celebrated royal calligraphers. Abd Allāh Mushkīn Qalam worked in Allāhābād for Prince Salim, who later ...
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Collection of Short Love Poems by Jāmī
This is an illuminated and illustrated manuscript of a small collection of short love poems of the type called tarjī`band by Nūr al-Dīn ‘Abd al-Raḥmān Jāmī (d. 898 AH / 1492 CE). It was copied in black nasta‘līq script by the calligrapher Muḥammad Zamān al-Tabrīzī in 998 AH / 1589-90 CE in Safavid Iran. The text is written on orange-tinted paper, and the bluish-green borders are illuminated throughout. The manuscript opens with an incipit page with illuminated headpiece (fol. 1b), and there are two illustrations (fols. 3a and 6a). The ...
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