Jahan Malak Khatun’s Prayer for Power


This calligraphic panel includes three bayts (verses) of Persian poetry possibly composed by Jahan Malak Khatun, a female poet of the Qajar period (not to be confused with the 14th century poet of the same name). Beginning with an invocation of God as al-ghafur (forgiving) and al-rahim (merciful), the verses then provide a repeated versified duʻaʼ (prayer) for the patron's continued mulk (power): “Oh, the continuity of power depends on the survival of your substance / Good fortune has sewn a cloak of power for your rank / Your policy on the land was such that not even one bird / Could fly away into the air of the country / Malak-i Jahan [the power of the world] wants you to invoke God / And this will bring victory as blessings from the prayer of power.” The diagonal verses are executed in black nastaʻliq script on a beige paper and framed by cloud bands on a gold background. Blue and beige frames decorated with gold sprinkles have been pasted onto the sheet in a rather sloppy manner. The text panel originally contained a signature in the lower-left corner, which has been erased and is no longer legible. As Jahan Malak Khatun was active in Persia (Iran) over the course of the 19th century, this particular fragment must have been produced sometime in the 19th or 20th century.

Last updated: September 30, 2016