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 first verse on the sixth line appears the poet's signature or pen name, facilitating the identification of the fragment. The two ghazals are executed in black nasta'liq script in two columns, separated at the center by a plain gutter marked off by black vertical lines. They are divided by an illuminated, horizontal register with a gold-painted panel bordered by a blue background decorated with flowers. Though not inscribed, this panel demarcates each independent ghazal. The text panel is framed by several borders and pasted to a sheet of beige paper decorated with mythical birds painted in gold. The fragment's style and composition are common to Persian manuscripts produced during the Safavid period, i.e., the 16th and 17th centuries.

Last updated: September 30, 2016