Levha (Panel) in Honor of Imam 'Ali


This single panel praises Muhammad's son-in-law 'Ali and his famous double-edged sword Dhu al-Fiqar, which he inherited from the Prophet, with the topmost statement executed in black ink: "There is no victory except 'Ali [and] there is no sword except Dhu al-Fiqar." The vocalization for this proclamation is executed in red ink. Immediately below the inscription eulogizing 'Ali appear several lines executed in red (vocalized in blue ink), blue (vocalized in red ink), and black (vocalized in red ink) praising the Imam, the Prophet Muhammad, and God. The four diagonal lines, executed in blue ink, provide a supplementary eulogistic quatrain in honor of a ruler by drawing a parallel to the great Persian kings Jamshid and Feridun. In the lower-right corner, the artist Farid al-Din has signed his work. Unfortunately, this levha or lawha (single calligraphic panel) is not dated. As levhas are typical of 19th-century Turkish calligraphic traditions, it is quite possible that this piece was made at the time for a patron with Shi'i inclinations either in Turkey or Iran. Executed on a thick beige piece of paper, the calligraphic panel is provided with a frame decorated with painted gold flower motifs. The right and left vertical borders show vestigial traces of white-and-blue ebru or abri (marble) paper, suggesting that the panel at one time was pasted onto a sheet of marble paper and included in an album of calligraphies.

Last updated: May 3, 2016