Collection of Persian Poetry and Prose


This manuscript in Persian is an untitled Sufi text on meditation containing both poetry and prose. It was completed in early 1520, probably in Herat (present-day Afghanistan) or Mashhad (present-day Iran). The colophon, which is in Arabic, gives the name of the scribe, Mīr 'Alī Ḥusaynī Haravī (circa 1476−1543). The manuscript is on a firm cream-colored paper inlaid into light cream (folios 1−8) or pale greenish-blue margin paper, with the writing enclosed within alternating gold and cream (or green) bands with black ruling. The margin paper is profusely decorated with floral and animal motifs. The text is in nastalīq script, eight lines to the page. The binding is contemporary leather with medallions. A former owner’s stamp appears on folio 1a. Sufism, a mystical and introspective interpretation of Islam that emerged after the initial spread of the religion, combines Islamic teachings with gnosticism. The practice embraced the idea of enlightenment through spiritual knowledge, informed by pre-Islamic Greek, Zoroastrian, and Indian spiritual practices. By the 13th century, Sufi thought in the Persian-speaking world was expressed primarily through poetry or in poetic works of prose, such as this treatise.

Last updated: September 5, 2014