Verses by Jami


This calligraphic fragment includes verses composed by the famous Persian poet Jami (died 1492). In the top-right corner, the text begins with the attribution of the verses to the makhdumi (master) poet and a request for (God’s) al-maghfarah (forgiveness) and al-rahmah (mercy) upon Jami. The verses then describe how often true beauty is overlooked: “How often there is a beautiful face with graceful ways / Who is not sought after by people / But how often a harlot with sweet winks / Causes the blood of hearts to pour out in gushes.” In the lower-right corner, al-mudhnib (the lowly) calligrapher Hajji Yadigar al-Katib has signed his work. As his name suggests, he must have completed the hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca) and been a katib (professional scribe). He may be a certain Yadigar Khwajah Samarqandi, who arrived in India and offered the Mughal ruler Jahangir (ruled 1605‒27) a muraqqaʻ (album) of calligraphies, for which he received a robe of honor. The verses are executed in black nastaʻliq script on a beige paper. Framed by cloud bands, the text appears on a background lavishly decorated with gold painted vegetal designs highlighted in light-blue and red dots. These motifs appear to support a 17th-century Central Asian or Mughal provenance.

Last updated: September 30, 2016