Ghazals of Amir Khusraw Dihlavi


This calligraphic fragment includes a number of ghazals (lyric poems) composed by the Persian poet Amīr Khusraw Dihlavī (circa 1253–1325), whose pen name or signature "Khusraw" appears at the top of the central column of diagonal verses. The ghazals are executed in black Nasta'liq script in three columns, with the verses appearing on a beige paper and framed by cloud bands on a background painted in gold. Several triangular panels fill in the spaces remaining at the intersection of the diagonal verses and the rectangular frame. These panels include inscriptions that specify that the remaining part of the poem continues beyond the formal (spatial) separation. In other cases, such as at the top of the central column of text, a different ghazal is introduced by an inscription in red ink. The inscription reads: "also from him" and asks for God's forgiveness of Amīr Khusraw's sins. In the bottom left corner of the rightmost column appears the artist's signature, which reads: mashaqahu al-'abd (written by the servant) Sultan 'Ali Mashhadi. Sultan 'Ali Mashhadi (flourished circa 1453–1519) was active at the court of the last Timurid ruler Sultan Ḥusayn Bāyqarā (reigned 1470–1506) in Herāt (present-day Afghanistan), where he was a contemporary of the famous painter Bihzād (died circa 1535) and the prolific poet Jāmī (1414–92). He was responsible for copying a number of royal manuscripts and composing inscriptions to be placed on royal buildings. A master of Nasta'liq script, he also composed a treatise on the rules of writing, the moral qualities of calligraphers, how to make ink and paper, and how to use the reed pen and other writing implements. The text is framed by a wide border painted in gold and is pasted to a sheet of paper decorated by white, blue, and red marbling. Although the original text was executed circa 1500 in Herat, it was pasted to the marbled paper at later date.

Last updated: September 30, 2016