Quatrain on Unity of Lovers


This calligraphic fragment includes a rubaʻi (iambic pentameter quatrain) on the primordial nature of a lover’s affection. Beginning with an invocation to Huwa al-ʻaziz (God, the Glorious), the verses read: “How good is that person in the bazaar of love / He died for your sadness and bought your sorrow with his heart / It is not today that the story of love in Salman’s heart (began) / God created me and my love of you in tandem.” The verses are executed in black nastaʻliq script on a beige paper framed by a pasted border decorated with interlacing leaf and vine motifs. In the bottom horizontal panel, the calligrapher Pir Muhammad b. Dust Muhammad states that katabahu (he wrote) the piece. In the lower-left corner of the text panel, he also specifies that he has naql min khatt (copied the handwriting) of the ustadh al-kamil (master teacher) Muhammad ʻAli Bukhari. Pir Muhammad b. Dust Muhammad’s statement suggests that he may have used a calligraphic specimen by his teacher as a model for his own, either adapting it or copying it directly. Unfortunately, as neither calligrapher appears to be recorded in historical sources, it is difficult to suggest a date of execution and a provenance for this piece.

Last updated: September 30, 2016