'Id (Feast Day) Blessing


This calligraphic panel executed in nasta'liq script on a beige paper sprinkled with gold flecks is provided with a (water-damaged) frame and is pasted to a brown piece of paper strengthened with cardboard. Between the two lines of calligraphy, which offer a prayer to a ruler on the occasion of 'id (also seen as 'Id and Eid), appears another small fragment cut out and pasted in the center right. It reads: "In the name of Muhammad and Muhammad's family [prayers upon them].” The two main lines of calligraphy read: “On this 'id, may God the Exalted bring to the high essence of his Majesty, / Navab Sahib, everlasting blessing and good fortune.” This poem wishes a ruler, described as a dhat 'ali (high essence), everlasting happiness and good fortune on the occasion of 'id. This festival may be 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. An Indian provenance is supported by the fact that the title "Navab Sahib" was used, for example, by rulers of Junagadh Province in northern India from the 18th to the 20th centuries. It appears that this calligraphic panel was executed to celebrate the New Year and to wish a princely patron unending prosperity. 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