Folio from a Mu'nis al-ahrar fi daqa'iq al-ash'ar (The Free Man's Companion to the Subtleties of Poems) of Jajarmi

Muhammad ibn Badr al-Din Jajarmi (active 1340s)

Object Name:
Folio from an illustrated manuscript
A.H. 741/A.D. 1341
Iran, Isfahan
Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper
6 5/8 x 9 1/8 in. (16.8 x 23.2 cm)
Credit Line:
Cora Timken Burnett Collection of Persian Miniatures and Other Persian Art Objects, Bequest of Cora Timken Burnett, 1956
Accession Number:
  • Description

    This page from an anthology of Persian poetry illustrates a poem about the moon as it enters the houses of all twelve zodiac signs. In the three scenes here, the moon is shown visiting Virgo, depicted as a farmer with a sickle cutting corn plants, then in the house of Libra, a man holding scales, and finally seated next to the scorpion of Scorpio.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Inscription: -Translation of Persian text:
    "With the Moon in Virgo, writing and teaching are good,
    Seeing scribes and astrological calculations.
    Bleeding and travel and building are good.
    "Make marriages, wear new clothes," the wise man said.
    "With the Moon in Libra, making marriages is good, and journeys,
    The seeing of women and noble servants.
    Donning new clothes and merriment are good,
    And it is better to shun the making of pacts."
    "With the Moon in Scorpio, taking medicine is good,
    To make war and use wiles against one's enemies.
    Stay at home. Do not travel. Do not put on new clothes.
    It is good to plant new trees."

    "When the Moon comes to the sign of Sagittarius
    Make your requests from judges and men of learning.
    Buy slaves, make marriages, and visit the bath.
    Do not take medicine or weaken yourself with toil."
    "When the Moon has come to Capricorn, hold entertainments.
    Dig qanats and canals, if you are able.
    Buy slaves and animals, if you have the money.
    Toil to acquire learning; do not behave ignorantly."
    "With the Moon in Aquarius, if you have money,
    Buy furnishings and goods and Indian slaves.
    To see agents and sheikhs is good.
    There is a ban on bleeding, hunting, marriage making and travel."
    (Translated by A. H. Morton in Swietochowski and Carboni, "Illustrated Poetry and Epic Images". NY: MMA, 1994)

    Persian poem in Naskhī script is by Badr al-Dīn Jājurmī . The poem is about the positsion of the moon in different stars and what will happen when the moon is in that position. The positions of the moon on the front and back page is as:
    The moon as a Bow, The moon as a goat, The moon as a pail, The moon as a cluster, The moon as a scale, The moon as a scorpion.,

    (Muḥammab Badr al-Dīn Jājurmī, Mū᾽nis al-᾽Aḥrār fī Daqā᾽iq al-᾽Ash‘ār, ed. Mīr Ṣāliḥ Ṭabībī, Anjuman-I ᾽Āthar Millī, Tehran, 1350/ 1971, vol.2, p.1221).


  • Provenance

    Cora Timken Burnett, Alpine, NJ (by 1933–d. 1956; bequeathed to MMA)

  • See also
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History