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Mantiq al-tair (Language of the Birds)

Sultan `Ali Mashhadi (ca.1440–1520)

Author:
Farid al-Din `Attar (ca. 1142–1220)
Object Name:
Illustrated manuscript
Date:
ca. 1600
Geography:
Iran, Isfahan
Culture:
Islamic
Medium:
Opaque watercolor and gold on paper
Dimensions:
H. 12 7/8 in. (32.7 cm) W. 8 5/16 in. (21.1 cm)
Classification:
Codices
Credit Line:
Fletcher Fund, 1963
Accession Number:
63.210
  • Description

    This lavishly illuminated double-page frontispiece contains the first twenty lines of prayers. The text areas are enclosed by four large panels that contain the title of the book, Mantiq al-Tayr, and the author's name, Farid al-Din 'Attar, in the middle cartouche. A minute inscription at the edge of these panels says that it was made by a famous illuminator and painter, Zayn al-'Abidin, in Isfahan by the order of Shah 'Abbas. There are another four vertical panels filled with serrated leaves next to the text area. These panels are surrounded by a meticulously arranged lobed band that shows a harmonious combination of gold, blue, light green, orange, pink, and white.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Inscription: Definition: Persian
    Translation: To the order of the treasury of the High Nawab, Shah Abbas Bahadur Khan, written by Zayn al-'Abadin the illuminator of Tabriz at the capital Isfahan.
    Notes: Page added during time of Shah Abbas, ca. 1600.

    Marking: Signed and inscribed.

  • Provenance

    Shah Abbas I, Isfahan, Iran (ca. 1600–1608; presented to Ardebil Shrine); Ardebil Shrine, Iran (ca. 1608–sack of Ardebil, 1826); Dr. M. Farid Parbanta(until 1963); sale, Sotheby's, London, December 9, 1963, lot 111, to MMA

  • See also
    Who
    What
    Where
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
    MetPublications
454362:98

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