Bustan (Orchard) of Sa'di, Mir 'Ali al-Husaini, Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper; leather binding

Bustan (Orchard) of Sa'di

Mir 'Ali al-Husaini
Sa'di (1213/19–92)
Object Name:
Illustrated manuscript
dated A.H. 929/A.D. 1522–23
Attributed to present-day Uzbekistan, Bukhara
Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper; leather binding
11 1/2 x 7 3/4in. (29.2 x 19.7cm)
Credit Line:
Frederick C. Hewitt Fund, 1911
Accession Number:
Not on view
Inscription: Location: Chapter 1: "Concerning Justice, Counsel, and the Administration of Government"
Translation: Darius, King of Persia, became separated from his retinue while hunting. A herdsman came running towards him, and the king, assuming the man to be an enemy, adjusted his bow. Thereupon the herdman cried, "I am no enemy; seek not to kill me. I am he who tends the king's horses, and in this meadow I am thus engaged." Becoming again composed, the king smiled and said: "Heaved has befriended thee; otherwise would I have drawn the bowstring to my ear." "It showeth neither wise administration nor good judgment," replied the herdsmen, "when the kings knows not an enemy from a friend. Those who are greatest should know those who are least. Many times hast thou seen me in thy presence, and asked of me concerning the horses and they grazing fields. Now that I come again before thee thou takest me for an enemy. More skilled am I, O King, for I can distinguish one horse out of a hundred thousand. Tend thou they people as I, with sense and judgment, tend my horses." Ruin brings sorrow to that kingdom where the wisdom of the shepherd exceeds that of the king.
Notes: Translation by A. H. Edwards. London, Murray, 1911.

Marking: See additional card.
Hagop Kevorkian, New York, until 1911; sold to MMA]
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