Quatrain on the Virtue of Patience


This calligraphic fragment includes a ruba’i (iambic pentameter quatrain), on the need for endurance. The verses read: “I went to the doctor, asked about my severe pain / (And) what could he do for my lovesickness / He ordered as a drink the blood of liver and water of the eye / I said: ‘What kind of food (is that)?’ and he answered: ‘You must eat liver.’” The doctor recommends his lovesick patient to jigar khwurdan (endure, literally, “eat liver”) the pains of love, as there is no medicinal potion that will cure him. The verses are written diagonally in Nasta'liq script in white ink on a light-brown paper. The calligrapher, Muhammad Muhsin, raqamahu (signed his work, literally "has written it") in the lower-left corner. On the verso of this fragment appears a later note in English attributing the work to a Muhammad Muhsin Lahuri. He can be identified as the Lahuri who may have formed part of a group of calligraphers active in Lahore during the 18th century that included 'Abdallah Lahuri and Muhammad Zahir Lahuri. After the death of Aurangzeb (1618–1707), Mughal power was decentralized and royal patronage of calligraphy declined. New styles emerged in cities such as Lucknow, Hyderabad, and Lahore, where calligraphers active in the Nasta'liq script, including Muhammad Muhsin Lahuri, sought out patronage from local rulers.

Last updated: December 24, 2013