The Khamsah of Amīr Khusraw Dihlavī


This is a deluxe copy of the Khamsah (quintet) of Amīr Khusraw Dihlavī (circa 1253–1325), who was India’s foremost Sufi poet who wrote in Persian. His quintet is a retelling of the five stories by 12th-century poet Nizāmī Ganjavī. The manuscript was written in nasta‘līq script by one of the greatest calligraphers of the Mughal atelier, Muhammad Husayn al-Kashmīrī, who was honored with the epithet Zarrīn Qalam (Golden Pen). This copy of Dihlavī's Khamsah probably was produced in Lahore (present-day Pakistan) in the late 16th century and is associated with the patronage of Akbar (reigned 1556–1605). The manuscript illustrations bear ascriptions to a number of artists: La‘l (Lāl), Manūhar, Sānwalah, Farrukh, Alīqulī, Dharamdās, Narsing, Jagannāth, Miskīnā, Mukund, and Sūrdās Gujarātī. The names of the illuminators are noted as Husayn Naqqāsh, Mansūr Naqqāsh, Khvājah Jān Shīrāzī, and Lutf Allāh Muzahhib. The borders are all elaborately illuminated with animal, bird, and geometric motifs, as well as human figures engaged in daily activities such as praying, hunting, and reading. The lacquer binding, decorated with pictorial scenes, is contemporary with the manuscript. Eight leaves from this copy of the Khamsah of Dihlavī are housed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (13.228.26-33).

Last updated: June 26, 2012