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'Unwan from the Shah Jahan Album

Calligrapher:
Mir 'Ali Haravi (d. ca. 1550)
Object Name:
Album leaf
Date:
recto: ca. 1630–40; verso: ca. 1540
Geography:
India
Culture:
Islamic
Medium:
Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper
Dimensions:
H. 15 1/4 in. (38.7 cm) W. 10 3/8 in. (26.4 cm)
Classification:
Codices
Credit Line:
Purchase, Rogers Fund and The Kevorkian Foundation Gift, 1955
Accession Number:
55.121.10.38
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 450
A manuscript often opened with an 'unwan, a sumptuous double-page composition framing columns of text. To begin this imperial album, text from a treatise on calligraphy by Mir 'Ali, the celebrated penman of the early sixteenth-century Timurid court of Herat, was pasted onto a folio and decorated with several borders of lavish illumination. The writing itself is surrounded with cloudlike bubbles, around which miniature irises, lilies, and other plants bloom.
Jack S. Rofe, Scotland (in 1929; sale, Sotheby's London,December 12, 1929, to Kevorkian); [ Hagop Kevorkian, New York, from 1929]; [ Kevorkian Foundation, New York, until 1955; gift and sale to MMA]
Welch, Stuart Cary, Annemarie Schimmel, Marie Lukens Swietochowski, and Wheeler M. Thackston. The Emperors' Album: Images of Mughal India. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1987. no. nos. 2, 4, pp. 82, 84-87, ill., verso pl. 4 (color); recto pl. 2 (color).



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