Verses by Shaykh Baha'i


This calligraphic fragment includes verses composed by Shaykh Bahaʼi, a Persian mystical poet of the 11th century. The poem describes the many ways in which to express one’s love of God: “Oh, the arrow of Your grief (is) the target of Your lovers’ heart(s) / People are mesmerized by You, but You are absent from both time and place / Sometimes I retire to my monastery, others I inhabit a mosque / That means that I search for You from house to house / Everyone speaks about his love for You in (his own) language / The lover by the song of sorrow and the minstrel by (his) melody.” The verses are executed in black nastaʻliq script written diagonally on a cream-colored paper decorated with delicate flower and leaf motifs painted in gold. The spaces created by the intersection of the diagonal lines of text and the rectangular frame are filled by illuminated triangles (or thumb pieces). The central text panel is framed by several borders, including an outermost border which contains further verses in Persian individually cut out and pasted into the rectangular panels. The entirety of the composition is contained on a beige sheet of paper painted with gold flowers and backed by cardboard. The composition is neither signed nor dated; however, the script and decorative style are typical of calligraphies made during the Safavid period (16th century) in Persia.

Last updated: September 30, 2016