Noruz (New Year’s) Poem


This calligraphic panel includes a ruba'i (iambic pentameter quatrain) signed by the calligrapher Agha'i. He has signed his work: "written by the poor Agha'i." Unfortunately, nothing is known about this calligrapher, and the approximate date of the piece (17th−18th centuries) must remain conjectural. The quatrain is written in black nasta'liq script on a piece of paper framed in blue and pasted to a brown paper strengthened with cardboard. The poem reads as follows: “For you, Pride of Government and Religion / May happiness be your aide and may fortune be beside you. / Congratulations to you on the festival of New Year's / May you always sit side by side [with happiness and fortune].” This poem wishes a ruler everlasting happiness and good fortune on the occasion of New Year's. This Noruz (New Year) is most likely 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 celebrations is attested to in a number of other calligraphic specimens in the Library of Congress.

Last updated: July 31, 2014