Three Ghazals by Tabib Isfahani


This calligraphic fragment contains three ghazals (lyrical poems) by 'Abd al-Baqi, known as Tabib Isfahani. He was a tabib (court physician) to the Persian ruler Nadir Shah (ruled 1736−47) and a prolific writer whose many verses form part of his divan (compendium of poems). His takhallus (signature) "Tabib" appears in the verses. The first ghazal rhymes with payda (found), the second ghazal rhymes with ra (the accusative marker), and the third ghazal rhymes with aftada ast (happened, occurred). All three ghazals describe the faithfulness of a lover and the sadness felt upon separation from the beloved. The lover describes his pain while simultaneously advising himself not to complain and to be patient in the face of adversity. The text is executed in minute shikastah-nasta'liq script diagonally in two columns, separated with two plain vertical lines painted in gold. The text page is made of cream-colored paper and is framed with borders painted in purple, light green, and gold. The text and its frame are pasted to a larger sheet of pink paper backed with cardboard for strengthening. As Tabib Isfahani was a poet in the 18th century, this fragment in all likelihood was executed during Nādir Shāh's reign, that is, around the middle of the 18th century. Nādir Shāh is best known for his invasions of Mughal India (he sacked Delhi and Lahore and brought back the famous Peacock Throne to Iran), so this piece may have been executed while the ruler was based in India (1738−39). It was later remounted and perhaps included in an album of calligraphies.

Last updated: April 6, 2016