Two Textual Excerpts


This calligraphic fragment includes two separate and unrelated texts written diagonally in black Indian nastaʻliq script on beige paper. The lines of the texts are separated visually by strokes in red ink. The first text at the top provides a section from the Indian historical work entitled the Tarikh-i Bikramajit (History of Bikramajit). It appears that this text belongs to a series of works dealing with local histories, in this case of the Indian state of Sangri and its ruler Bikramajit (ruled 1800−1803 and 1815−16). The calligrapher, a certain Jamal-i Nuri, has signed and dated his work in the last two diagonal lines. He states that he executed the text on the 20th day of Rajab during the third regnal year in the dar al-sultanah (capital city) of Lahore. Whose regnal year is not specified, but one may hypothesize that the calligrapher may have written the work during the third year of Bikramajit’s rule, that is, in 1803. The second text in the lower part of the fragment includes a section of Bustan (The fruit garden) by Shaykh Saʻdi, which discusses events during the time of the Prophet Muhammad. This section relates the story of a certain Hakim Taʼi, a generous man who belonged to a tribe that did not accept Islam, and his daughter’s pleading for the Prophet’s mercy upon the killing of her tribesmen. This fragment is written in a fluid nastaʻliq typical of texts written in India during the late 18th century. The nature of the historical text in the upper portion of the fragment and its date also support placing this fragment within a corpus of works produced in 18th century India.

Last updated: July 28, 2017