Verses by Baba Tahir


This calligraphic fragment includes various excerpts in both prose and verse. In the central blue panel, verses by the 11th-century Persian poet Baba Tahir describe his helplessness and inferiority: “I am that ant which is crushed underfoot / Not the bee from whose sting they suffer.” Other Persian verses appear both above and below the central panel and, in the left vertical, a register contains an elaborate duʻaʼ (prose prayer) wishing a king prosperity and happiness. The texts are executed in black nastaʻliq script on variously colored papers decorated with designs in gold paint, cut out individually and pasted together into one composition. Triangular areas left empty by the intersection of diagonal lines of text and rectangular frames are filled with blue and gold illumination. The whole text panel is pasted to a larger sheet of cream-colored paper decorated with gold flecks and backed with cardboard. The fragment is neither dated nor signed. However, it appears to have been produced in 16th- or 17th-century Iran and placed later into a muraqqaʻ (album) of calligraphies.

Last updated: September 30, 2016