Poetic Verses Offering Advice


This thin fragment is quite damaged by worm holes and has been pasted to a larger sheet for the purpose of preservation. Written in black Nasta'liq script tending towards Shikastah, the text begins with a ruba'i (iambic quatrain), continues with two tak bayt (single verses), and ends with a ghazal (lyrical poem) with the rhyming terminal sound sati. The verses are separated by diagonal lines in red ink, and the term aydan (also) at the top of the left column initiates the ghazal. These various poetical verses provide the reader with advice to trust in God; they also warn of the futility of worldly goods. Although the fragment is neither dated nor signed, the script and the fragility of the paper suggest that it was executed in Iran or India during the 17th–18th centuries. Papers used at an earlier period were thicker and less prone to worm damage. A note on the fragment's recto attributes the calligraphic sample to the Persian calligrapher 'Abd al-Baqi (died 926 AH/1518). He was a native of the desert town of Yazd, a descendant of the famous mystical saint Shah Ni'matullah Vali (died 832 AH/1429), a minister of the Persian king Shah Isma'il I (died 930 AH/1524), and a reputed calligrapher in Ta'liq script. However, it appears unlikely that the fragment is by 'Abd al-Baqi or even was executed at the time he was active.

Last updated: April 6, 2016