Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object
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Divan of Sultan Husayn Baiqara

Calligrapher:
Sultan 'Ali al-Mashhadi (active late 15th–early 16th century)
Object Name:
Non-illustrated manuscript
Date:
dated A.H 905/ A.D.1500
Geography:
present-day Afghanistan, Herat
Culture:
Islamic
Medium:
Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper; lacquer binding
Dimensions:
10 1/2 x 7 1/4in. (26.7 x 18.4cm)
Classification:
Codices
Credit Line:
Purchase, Richard S. Perkins and Margaret Mushekian Gifts, 1982
Accession Number:
1982.120.1
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 455
This lavishly embellished manuscript comprises a collection (divan) of poetry composed by the late fifteenth-century Timurid ruler Sultan Husain Baiqara (r. 1470–1506) in eastern or Chaghatai Turkish. The calligraphic text, written on a variety of colorful papers mounted within elaborately stenciled and painted margins, was copied by one of Sultan Husain's favored calligraphers - Sultan 'Ali Mashhadi.
Signature: In the colophon: signed and dated by Sultan `Ali Mashhadi [see Inscriptions].

Inscription: - Signed on the last page: the lowliest slave Sultan `Ali Mashhadi -- may his sins be forgiven -- served in the writing of these (fortunate, blessed or happy, blissful) verses in the last third of the blessed month of Ramadan, 905 A.H. [late April 1500] in the capital Herat; then the remark in shikaste, dated 1300 A.H. [1833] that this is really in the handwriting of the "leader of calligraphers" Sultan `Ali. (Trans. by Annemarie Schimmel, 1985)

- Inscribed on lacquer binding, a dedication and a seal with the date A.H. 1300. The binding bears at its inner border identical Persian verses with a very complicated rhyme:
Thousand thanks that this colorful album from its beginning
To its end has reached as the heart of the friend wanted it
It is a beautiful album: never in the course of time
The checkered sky saw such an album
The nau-khatt (either "those who just learn writing" or "those with a fresh down") of Tibet and Khalk have taken the script (or "the blackness") from it
The pretty ones of Barbary and Barda` have taken lessons from it.
The pages were painted like the picture-house of Mani
And evident with clear meanings like the "moon of Muqanna`"
Their niceties (are) like pretty-faced beloveds
Who have hidden their cheeks in a veil and put their faces in a burqa`.
(Trans. by Annemarie Schimmel, 1985)
Philip Hofer, Cambridge, MA (until 1982; sold to MMA)
Welch, Stuart Cary. The Islamic World. vol. 11. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1987. pp. 92-93, ill. fig. 70 (color).

Roxburgh, David J. "From Dispersal to Collection." In The Persian Album, 1400-1600. New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 2005. p. 173, ill. fig. 94 (color), f. 35b.

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. 129, pp. 191-192, ill. p. 191 (color).



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