Shaikh Mihna and the Peasant: Page from a manuscript of the Mantiq al–Tayr (The Language of the Birds) of Farid al–Din cAttar, ca. 1487; Timurid
Opaque watercolor, ink, and silver on paper; 7 3/4 x 5 3/4 in. (19.7 x 14.6 cm)
Fletcher Fund, 1963 (63.210.49)
This painting illustrates a story that stresses the importance of the quest (talab). The story is as follows: Shaikh Mihna (Abu Sacid Mihna'i, 967–1049), a famous shaikh of Khorasan, wandered in the wilderness in a state of depression. He saw a peasant in the distance cultivating wasteland with an ox-plow. The peasant emitted light. Shaikh Mihna approached the peasant and told him of his painful condition. The peasant advised him to be patient and pursue the endless quest.
This illustration depicts the conversation between the peasant and Shaikh Mihna in the foreground. On the other hand, a group of men weighing melons and a dervish sleeping at the base of a tree have no connection to the text itself. The reason for the inclusion of this scene awaits further research.