Levha, or Calligraphic Panel, Praising 'Ali


This calligraphic panel is written in black Nasta'liq on a brown surface and framed by two borders in plain green and blue decorated with gold stars. The inscription provides an invocation of 'Ali through his many epithets: “The Successor of the Leader of Humankind and Spirits, the Mustafa in Reality.” 'Ali is described as the rightful viceregent of the Prophet Muhammad (i.e., Mustafa, which means “the Chosen One”), a ruler of men and spirits, and a true manifestation of prophethood. This invocation to the son-in-law of the Prophet shows that the piece must have been produced in a Shi'ia milieu, most likely in India during the 18th–19th centuries. The panel may have been included in an album of calligraphies or put on display on a wall.

Last updated: April 12, 2016