Malik Muhammad Qazvini
Black ink on buff paper; 5 x 7 3/4 in. (12.5 x 19.8 cm)
Purchase, Elizabeth S. Ettinghausen Gift in memory of Richard Ettinghausen, 1998 (1998.268)
This bold and ornate sample of calligraphy invokes blessings on the prophet Muhammad ("Peace be upon you, Oh Muhammad, servant of God"), placing the words of the upper line between the tall vertical shafts of the lower line. The scribe, Malik Muhammad Qazvini, wrote this calligraphy for an honored friend called Mirza Musa. The style he employs is a characteristically nineteenth-century adaptation of medieval floriated kufic, in which floral terminals and dotted outlines embellish each letter. Three areas of shikastah calligraphy containing the artist's name and a date of 1285 A.H. / A.D 186869 are seen under the main calligraphic panel, along with the artist's seal. Malik Muhammad was considered a master calligrapher of his time and is credited with having invented another distinctive style known as jali nastacliq.