This calligraphic fragment belongs to a series of 22 inshaʼ (literary compositions or letters) written by calligraphers named Mir Kalan, Khan Zaman (son of Khan Khanan), Qaʼim Khan, Lutfallah Khan, and Mahabat Khan. Judging from the script (Indian nastaʻliq), a seal impression bearing the date 1113 AH (1701−2), and a letter mentioning the city of Janpur in India, it appears that these writings were executed in India during the 18th century. Furthermore, if one were to identify the calligrapher Mir Kalan as the renowned painter active during the mid-18th century in Lucknow, then this identification would add further support to identifying this calligraphic series in the Library of Congress’ collection as a corpus of materials produced by several writers active in 18th-century India. The calligraphies are typically written in a hasty nastaʻliq on white paper, framed in blue, and pasted to a pink or salmon cardboard. They stand out for being in rather poor condition, in many cases badly damaged by worm holes and/or water stains. Some bear squiggle-like marks in the margins, while others include seal impressions that were cut out and pasted onto the cardboards. In most cases, an attribution to a calligrapher is written at the top, preceded by the expression raqamahu (written by) or khatt-i (the handwriting of). The recto of this calligraphic fragment includes a note at the top horizontal stating that the text is raqamahu by Mahabat Khan. In the lower-left corner appears a squiggle design. The main text, executed in a very fluid Indian nastaʻliq, consists of a letter addressed to the writer’s dear friend or brother. The writer states that he received his friend’s letter and that he is well. The verso of this page includes a note at the top horizontal stating that the text is “khatt-i . . . Khan Zaman.” The main text is addressed to the writer’s baradar-i mahraban-i man (dear friend or brother) to confirm receipt of the latter’s letter. At the end of his text, the writer states (in lines executed vertically to the right on the main horizontal text) that he composed his letter on the 24th day of Jumadah II (a month in the Islamic lunar calendar) although he does not specify the year.

Last updated: September 30, 2016