Burning and Melting


This manuscript is an illuminated and illustrated copy of the poem Sūz va gudāz (Burning and melting) by Naw’ī Khabūshānī, who died in 1019 AH (1610 AD). It recounts the love story of a Hindu girl who burns herself on the funeral pyre of her betrothed. The codex was written in Nasta’līq script in black ink by Ibn Sayyid Murād al-Ḥusaynī and illustrated by Muḥammad ‘Alī Mashhadī in 1068 AH (1657 AD). According to the colophon, Ibn Sayyid Murād al-Ḥusaynī copied the manuscript for the painter Muḥammad ‘Alī, the “Mani of the time,” as a souvenir. The fact that the manuscript was produced for one of the most prolific artists of 17th-century Iran makes it a highly significant document. It opens with an illuminated incipit with headpiece (folio 1b) and closes with an illuminated tailpiece with colophon (folio 21b). Text pages have interlinear illumination and small rectangular and triangular pieces with polychrome floral and scrolling vine motifs. There are eight miniatures in a style associated with the Safavid centers of artistic production of Mashhad and Isfahan (folios 5a, 9a, 10b, 13a, 14a, 16a, 17b, and 19b). The manuscript is from the Walters Art Museum and is designated Walters W. 649.

Last updated: September 18, 2015