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 Arabic prayers written in black ta'liq script. The composition is pasted to a large beige paper decorated with gold flecks and backed by cardboard. In the lower right corner of the central text panel appears the calligrapher's signature. It reads: "Written by the poor, lowly, elderly secretary." Ikhtiyar al-Munshi ("the Elderly Secretary") was the nickname of Kamal al-Din Husayn (died 1566-67 [974 AH]), a calligrapher active during the reign of the Safavid ruler, Shah Tahmasp (ruled 1524-76). The monarch supported Kamal al-Din’s work in Tabriz and offered him a number of rewards (which he refused) as well as made him his personal secretary and bestowed upon him the honorific epithet "the Elderly Royal Secretary." Even though Kamal al-Din was blind in one eye, he was a master of all calligraphic scripts, especially nasta'liq.

Last updated: May 4, 2016