Rubaʻis by Hafiz


This calligraphic fragment includes three rubaʻiyat (iambic pentameter quatrains) arranged in corresponding vertical and horizontal panels. The verses written diagonally in the upper-right corner describe the duplicity of humankind: “(Bad deeds) have a very strange adjective / This bizarre Satan that eats people / Most people are cannibals / You are not safe when they greet you.” Another quatrain by the Persian poet Hafiz (died 1388‒89, 791 AH) is inscribed in vertical panels, the last two verses of which appear on a background painted with gold leaves. This quatrain describes respect owed to one’s superiors: “My heart is in your house of love / (My) eye is the mirror that reflects your brilliance / I, who do not prostrate myself to the two worlds, / My neck is under the weight of your favor.” The verses are executed in black nastaʻliq script in independent registers on a background decorated with illuminated triangular and rectangular panels. The entirety of the text panel is pasted to a larger sheet of beige paper decorated with light-blue vegetal motifs. The fragment is neither dated nor signed. However, it appears to have been produced in Iran in the 16th or 17th centuries and placed later into a muraqqaʻ (album) of calligraphies.

Last updated: November 1, 2017