Protocol of Address


This fragment probably formed part of a munshaʼat (collection of literary compositions) showing how to write appropriate praises to a ruler. Like this piece, a number of these calligraphies appear to have been executed in taʻliq script in India during the 17th and 18th centuries. The collections of the Library of Congress hold other works of inshaʼ (composition), also made in India at this time, that provide examples of how to compose letters to a friend. This particular fragment demonstrates the composition of a naʻt or munajat (formal praise) to a ruler using his many alqab (honorific epithets). It provides a blueprint for the literary protocols used in addressing a high-ranking patron. Executed in black Indian taʻliq, the text is outlined in gold cloud bands on a beige paper. The background is decorated with delicate flower-and-vine motifs painted in gold. In the lower panel, three lines of text are written diagonally, while the empty spaces in the upper-left and lower-right corners of this panel are filled by illuminated triangles (called “thumb pieces”). The text panel is framed by two blue borders and pasted to a pink sheet of paper backed by cardboard.

Last updated: September 30, 2016