Quatrain for the Loved One


This calligraphic fragment includes a rubaʻi (iambic pentameter quatrain) describing competition for the loved one. At the top, the verses are initiated by an invocation to God, “Huwa” (He), and the abjad (numerical equivalent) 111. The poem then reads: “That person who holds a glass (of wine) in his hand / Has everlasting pleasure and joy. / We, wine, devout and pious ones, / Which one will the beloved prefer?” The verses are executed in black nastaʻliq script on a beige paper and are outlined in cloud bands on a background painted in gold. The text panel is surrounded by several monochromatic frames and pasted to a larger pink sheet of paper backed by cardboard. The calligrapher, Hasan Shamlu, signed his work in the lower-right corner of the text panel with the expression mashaqahu (written by). Hasan Shamlu (died circa 1666−67) was a calligrapher in nastaʻliq script who followed closely the style of his predecessor Mir ‘Imad al-Hasani (died 1615). Works by Hasan Shamlu are rather uncommon; calligraphies by Mir ‘Imad are less rare, and are well represented in the collections of the Library of Congress. Both calligraphers provide a continuum of calligraphic works produced in nastaʻliq script in (Greater) Persia during the course of the 17th century.

Last updated: September 30, 2016