This page, signed by the celebrated calligrapher ‘Abd al-Rahim, includes four lines of poetry arranged diagonally in nastaʻliq script and interspersed with delicately rendered birds and flowers. The poem, written by the Persian poet and calligrapher Sultan ‘Ali Mashhadi (ca. 1440–1520), addresses the pain and suffering of this world, which presents an obstacle to rest and tranquility. The calligrapher of this page, ‘Abd al-Rahim, was honored with the title Ambarin Qalam (Amber Pen), given to him by the Mughal emperor Jahangir.
Signature: `Abd al-Rahim
Inscription: God is one The realm of any annihilation is like pain and obliteration So, seek not [in it] rest and tranquility Since most of the world’s elements and destiny are at last pain From it we have a heart soaked in blood.
[Poem by the Persian calligrapher and poet Sultan Ali Mashhadi (ca. 1440–1520)]
The humble ‘Abd al-Rahim, May God cover his faults. Year 992
Private collection, London (until 1994; gifted to MMA)