Various Verses of Poetry


This calligraphic page includes a number of verses of poetry in the central text area and in the many rectangular panels forming borders. In the main, central text area appears a rubaʻi (iambic pentameter quatrain) written in diagonal. The verses solicit borrowed grandeur and read: “Oh Friend, I am not successful compared to you / I appear small and indigent / Nonetheless, I beg (of you) a clean robe / So that I can wear (it) and show off in front of people.” In the lower-left corner of the panel containing the rubaʻi, alʻabd (the servant) Shah Mahmud has stated that he wrote this katabahu (specimen). The calligrapher Shah Mahmud al-Nishapuri (died 1564 or 1565 in Mashhad) was one of the most celebrated masters of nastaʻliq script active during the reign of the Safavid king Shah Tahmasp (reigned 1524−76) in Tabriz. Shah Mahmud’s beautiful handwriting earned him the nickname Zarrin Qalam (Golden Pen). He was also a poet in his own right. A number of qitʻas (calligraphic fragments) signed by him are held in international collections. Verses immediately surrounding the main panel of text are individually cut out and pasted so as to create a textual frame, while verses in the rectangular panels contained on the outermost salmon-colored border are executed directly on the sheet of paper. For this reason, it is possible that these verses were not executed by Shah Mahmud al-Nishapuri. Rather, they may have been added by a different calligrapher or album compiler at a later date. All text panels have been pasted to a larger blue sheet, backed by cardboard, decorated with flowers and plants painted in gold.

Last updated: September 30, 2016