First Page of Sa'di's "Bustan"


This calligraphic fragment consists of the first seven pages of Bustan (The fruit garden), a famous and beloved work composed by Shaykh Sa'di (died 691 AH/1292) in 1256–57. The work contains histories, personal anecdotes, fables, and moral instruction. This copy of Bustan may have been produced in India during the 17th century. The back of the second page includes a note supporting this provenance, as it states that the work was written by 'Abd al-Rashid Daylami, one of the famous calligraphers active at the court of the Mughal ruler Shah Jahan (reigned 1627–56) in Agra and Delhi. The first six pages include various praises to God as an appropriate incipit to the text. Page 7 is an encomium to the Prophet Muhammad. As in this case, the first page of a Persian poetical text is easily recognizable, as it is provided with an ornamental panel at the top and the main text usually is decorated by cloud band motifs and decorative illumination between the text and in the gutter separating each verse of poetry. The top frieze contains three yellow flowers as well as a blue horizontal band decorated with a gold leaf and flower motifs.

Last updated: February 24, 2014