“Hikmah” (Wise Saying)


This calligraphic fragment includes a hikmah (wise saying or proverb) on the virtues of helping al-fuqara' (the poor) and endurance in hardship. These qualities increase faith in the heart of fi qalb al-mu'min (the believer). The proverb begins on the penultimate line, continues on the last line of the text panel, and runs sequentially from the first line down. Several words are lost, replaced, and misspelled, suggesting that the piece was cut out (or salvaged) and pasted to this folio. The text is executed in black naskh script on a biege paper and is framed by cloud bands on a gold background. The text panel is provided with two ornamental frames: The first is green with gold interlacing vines, while the second is white and decorated with pink and purple flower and leaf motifs. The text panel is then pasted to a larger sheet of salmon-orange-colored paper decorated with flower motifs painted in gold and backed by cardboard for strengthening. The fragment is neither dated nor signed. However, text panels such as this one, providing various Arabic-language prayers or proverbs in naskh script, were made by the famous naskh-revival Persian calligraphers Mirza Ahmad Nayrizi (died 1739) and Vassal-i Shirazi (died 1846) and their followers. For these reasons, it is possible that this calligraphic fragment was made in Iran in the 18th or 19th century.

Last updated: May 3, 2016