Verses on Perceived Value


This calligraphic fragment includes a Persian poem that describes how luxury goods such as semi-precious stones and furs are devoid of any inherent worth. Beginning with an invocation to huwa al-muizz (God, the Glorified), the verses read: “I suppose your throne is made of crystal and jasper / Everyone who has an eye knows that they are just stone / That seat made from weasel and ermine (and with) a banner / To those who sit in wicker is but skin.” The calligrapher Muhammad Mahdi Husayni states that he has written these lines on unpolished paper in the year 1252/1836–37, and also asks forgiveness for his sins. As he notes, the paper is not of high quality, neither is the gold background used to highlight the verses executed in black Nasta'liq script framed by cloud bands. Muhammad Mahdi Husayni remains unknown, but he seems to have been a calligrapher of Nasta'liq script active in 19th-century Iran or India.

Last updated: December 24, 2013