Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Khusrau and Shirin

Written by Hatifi
Calligraphy and paintings by Suzi
Object Name:
Illustrated manuscript
dated A.H. 904/A.D. 1498–99
Attributed to Turkey, probably Istanbul or Amasya
Main support: ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper; binding: leather
Entire sheet: 9 7/16 x 6 7/16 inches (24 x 16.4 cm.)
Credit Line:
Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1969
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 462
This manuscript is a copy of the tale of Khusrau and Shirin composed by the Persian poet Hatifi, and shows the importance of Persian literature in the Ottoman world. It contains seven paintings, executed in a distinctive style, related to western Iranian tradition from the Aq Quyunlu, but also borrowing elements from European sources. The page shown depicts Khusrau riding on Shabdiz, his beautiful horse, while hunting. The calligraphy, illumination, gilding, and painting were completed by a single artist calling himself Suzi ("the burning one").
Signature: On colophon of manuscript, the illuminator signs "the work of Suzi, the helpless"

Inscription: Date A.H. 904 in chronogram, written in white at end of poem, f78v.

In Persian; all the paintings, illumination and calligraphy are by Suzī who may be Suzī Isfahani who lived in the 10th century Hijri ( A.H. 904 /A.D. 1498).
The last folio of this manuscript contains five lines of poetry in nasta‘līq script which contains the date in Abjad numbers and mentions that the manuscript was penned by Suzī. The following poem is found on the last page:

شد تمام این کتاب فرخنده دلگشایی کند بغمخواره
فرح قلب حاصلست اورا هرکه این آورد بنظاره
خط و تذهیب و تبر و تصویرش شد ز دست من دل آواره
بیشتر زین چون توانم کرد که مرا یک دلیست صد پاره
شد تمامی این را تاریخ عمل سوزیست بیچاره

This celebrated book was completed, it made the sad (ones) happy
Anyone who sees it will become happy at heart.
The calligraphy, illumination and painting is by my hand.
I could not have done more for I have one heart fragmented into a hundred pieces
The manuscript was completed on this date, the work of the humble Suzī ---Amala Suzi-i bīchāra and the date in Abjad numbers as A.H. 904 (A.H. 1498).

Osman Ata'ullah, Turkey; Sir Gregory O. Page-Turner, England(until 1827; his sale, March 1827, no. 190,to Phillips); Sir Thomas Phillipps, 1st Baronet, England (1827–d. 1872); Bibliotheca Phillippica, England(1872–1968; its sale, Sotheby's, London,November 25–26, 1968, MS 3127, to MMA)
New York. Grey Art Gallery, New York University. "Tulips, Arabesques and Turbans," April 26, 1983–July 4, 1983, no. 195.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Making the Invisible Visible," April 2, 2013–August 4, 2013, no catalogue.

Ettinghausen, Richard. "Reports of the Departments: Islamic Art." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin vol. 28, no. 2 (1969). pp. 79-81, ill. p. 79 (b/w), folio 22r.

Swietochowski, Marie, and Marilyn Jenkins-Madina. Notable Acquisitions 1965–1975 (1975). p. 133, ill. (b/w).

Swietochowski, Marie, and Richard Ettinghausen. "Islamic Painting." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, n.s., vol. 36, no. 2 (Autumn 1978). pp. 46-47, ill. pp. 46-7 (color), folios 15r and 22r.

Atil, Esin, ed. Turkish Art. Washington, D.C and New York: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1980. p. 161, ill. fig. 71 (b/w), fol. 22b.

Petsopoulos, Yanni, ed. "Decorative Arts from the Ottoman Empire." In Tulips, Arabesques & Turbans. New York: Abbeville Press, 1982. no. 195, p. 199, ill. pl. 195 (color), folio 22r.

Welch, Stuart Cary. The Islamic World. vol. 11. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1987. p. 117, ill. fig. 87 (color).

Grube, Ernst J. Studies in Islamic Painting. London: Pindar Press, 1995. p. 460, ill. fig. 11 (b/w).

Brend, Barbara. "Illustrations to Amir Khusrau's Khamsa." In Perspectives on Persian Painting. New York: RoutledgeCurzon, 2003. p. 153.

Yoltar-Yildirim Aysin, and Brill. "A 1498–99 Khusraw va Shirin: Turning the Pages of an Ottoman Illustrated Manuscript." Muqarnas vol. 22 (2005). pp. 96-109, ill. figs. 1-12, folio 1v fig. 4; 2r fig. 5; 2v fig. 6; 15v fig. 8; 22v fig. 9; 32r fig. 10; 49v fig. 11; 67v fig. 12; 78r fig 7 (color) .

Ekhtiar, Maryam, Sheila R. Canby, Navina Haidar, and Priscilla P. Soucek, ed. Masterpieces from the Department of Islamic Art in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1st ed. ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2011. no. 200, pp. 288-289, ill. p. 289 (color).

Related Objects

Tughra (Official Signature) of Sultan Süleiman the Magnificent (r. 1520–66)

Date: ca. 1555–60 Medium: Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper Accession: 38.149.2 On view in:Gallery 460

"The Angel Gabriel meets 'Amr ibn Zaid (the Shepherd)", Folio from a Siyer-i Nebi (the Life of the Prophet)

Date: ca. 1595 Medium: Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper Accession: 1994.141 On view in:Gallery 460

Album of Calligraphies Including Poetry and Prophetic Traditions (Hadith)

Artist: Shaikh Hamdullah ibn Mustafa Dede ( (d. 1520)) Date: ca. 1500 Medium: Main support: ink, watercolor, and gold on paper Margins: ink, watercolor and gold; marbled paper Binding: leather and gold Accession: 1982.120.3 On view in:Gallery 450

'Saz'-style Drawing of a Dragon amid Foliage

Artist: Shah Quli (Turkish, born Tabriz, Iran, active ca. mid-16th century) Date: ca. 1540–50 Medium: Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper Accession: 57.51.26 On view in:Not on view

Dragon Wrapped around Saz Leaves

Date: ca. 1550–70 Medium: Main support: ink on paper Border: Gold, ink, and opaque watercolor on paper Accession: 2000.424 On view in:Not on view