Signed by Khwaja
Ink on paper; 8 5/8 x 14 1/8 in. (21.9 x 35.9 cm)
Purchase, Richard S. Perkins Gift, 1986 (1986.216.1)
The striking beauty of this page, with the swooping curves and loops of the letters in white ink enhanced with blue dots against rich brown paper, entrances the eye to the extent that the content, which is difficult to decipher, seems irrelevant. The somewhat enlarged first line acknowledges benefits and kindnesses received from someone, while the next three lines contain expressions of gratitude and good wishes. The last line consists of the signature and date. The styles of calligraphy used in chancelleries developed differently from those used in Qurans or literary texts and culminated in the Ottoman divani script (from diwan, the "secretariat" or "assembly of officials"). Calligraphers excelling in this script were members of an elite cadre within the Ottoman bureaucracy.