'Id (Feast Day) Poem


This calligraphic panel includes a ruba'i (iambic pentameter quatrain), signed and dated in the lower-left corner by the calligrapher Mir Muhammad Salih: “written by Mir Muhammad Salih, 1225” (AD 1810). Although little is known about the calligrapher, the date proves that this work dates from the early 19th century. The text is executed in black (Indian) naskh script on a beige sheet of paper, framed in a blue border decorated with gold leaf and vine motifs. Before the quatrain begins, a short invocation of God that reads "he is the Forgiving" appears in the upper-right corner. This is followed by the quatrain, which reads: “It is 'id, may the wine of joy be in your glass / May the circus of the moon of 'id be on your roof / Every robe of fortune that the firmament sewed / Oh, Generous Mineral, may it fit you properly!” This poem wishes a ruler (nicknamed a "Generous Mineral,") fortune and happiness on the occasion of the 'id (feast day). This may well be the festival of Noruz (New Year), that is, the spring equinox (March 21) marking the beginning of the solar calendar as celebrated in Iran and parts of India. It appears that this calligraphic panel was executed on such an occasion to celebrate the New Year and to wish a patron prosperity for the years to come. This practice of offering good wishes in written form during New Year's celebrations is attested to in a number of other calligraphic specimens in the Library of Congress.

Last updated: May 3, 2016