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 particular calligraphic fragment is attributed to Khan Zaman on the top horizontal, although the attribution note is quite damaged. In the lower-right margin appears a squiggle motif and some hasty inscriptions. The main text, written in black ink on white paper, is addressed to the writer’s baradar-i mahraban-i man (dear brother or friend). The writer states that he is well, that he received the latter’s letter, and that he hopes to see him soon. The note at the top of the verso of this calligraphic fragment attributes the khatt (writing) to Khan Zaman. The main text, written in black ink on a white paper, consists of the writer’s letter to his dear friend or brother. He states that he is happy to have received his letter and that he now writes back with ishtiyaq (great joy). He also hopes for further continued contact.

Last updated: September 30, 2016