The Seductiveness of the World


This calligraphic panel includes three rubā'iyāt (iambic pentameter quatrains) in nasta'liq script on beige or blue papers cut out and pasted onto a sheet from a muraqqa' (album) of calligraphies. The quatrain in the upper-left panel, executed in black on a cream-colored sheet decorated with vine motifs painted in gold, reads: “Everyone whose heart is seduced by the world / Avoid (him) because of the pride of his ignorance / Grab the hem of that (person) who, because of his greatness, / Has left behind the world and its dwellers.” The three quatrains are separated by illuminated panels and thumb pieces, and divided horizontally by further verses in Persian. The whole of the text panel is provided by frames of various colors and pasted to a larger sheet of paper decorated by pounced motifs in blue and green. A number of standing figures, as well as a seated angel with red and yellow wings, further decorate the paper. Between each figure, a register includes a number of Persian verses written in red ink. The register in the left border, however, includes an inscription in yellow ink which bears a fragmentary date reading: “In the month of the second....” Although the year of execution unfortunately is omitted, albums of calligraphies and paintings using pounced decorative papers bearing inscribed medallions and registers are typical of Shaybanid works produced in Central Asia (in present-day Uzbekistan) over the course of the 16th century.

Last updated: May 3, 2016