Page of Calligraphy from an Anthology of Poetry by Sa`di and Hafiz
Hafiz (probably 1325/6–90)
Sultan `Ali Mashhadi (ca.1440–1520)
Folio from a non-illustrated manuscript
late 15th century
present-day Afghanistan, Herat
Ink, opaque watercolor, silver, and gold on paper
11 7/8 x 7 1/2in. (30.2 x 19cm)
Frederick C. Hewitt Fund, 1911
Not on view
This leaf comes from a dispersed anthology of Persian poetry. The leaves were remounted with borders painted in gold and silver on colored grounds - most commonly dark blue or salmon pink. The border designs range from a medley of animals, both real and fantastic - the latter borrowed from a Chinese repertory - amidst trees, foliage and rocks to those containing human figures engaged in varied active and contemplative pursuits . They are unsurpassed artistically in terms of drawing, coloring, and composition, but above all in their almost transcendental lyricism. They are in a style practiced at the court of Shah Tahmasp at Tabriz and perfected by the painter Sultan Muhammad. The calligrapher Sultan 'Ali Mashhadi, equally renowned, worked at the Timurid court in Herat in the later decades of the fifteenth century. His calligraphy was revered to the point of warranting the addition of the beautiful new borders at a later date.
Ph. Walter Schulz, Leipzig (in 1910); [ Gustav Crayen, until 1911; sold to MMA]
Sarre, F., H. R. Martin, and Moriz Dreger. Meisterwerke muhammedanischer Kunst auf der Ausstellung München, 1910: Teppiche, Waffen, Miniaturen, Buchkunst, Keramik, Glas und Kristall, Stein- Holz-und Elfenbeinarbeiten, Stoffe, Metall, Verschiedenes. Munich: Bruckmann, 1912. no. 687, ill. pl. 31.
Schulz, Ph. Walter. Die Persisch-Islamische Miniaturmalerei. Vol. vols. I, II. Leipzig: Hiersemann, 1914. pp. 104-105, 164-165.