Art/ Collection/ Art Object

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]
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Perfect Page: The Art of Embellishment in Islamic Book Design," May 17, 1991–August 18, 1991, no catalogue.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Sultan Ali of Mashhad, Master of Nasta'liq," January 19, 2001–May 27, 2001, no catalogue.

New York. Asia Society. "Asian Games: The Art of Contest," October 14, 2004–January 18, 2005, no. 22:12.

Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution. "Asian Games: The Art of Contest," February 26, 2005–May 15, 2005, no. 22:12.

Middlebury College Museum of Art. "Asian Games: The Art of Contest," September 8, 2005–December 11, 2005, no. 22:12.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Making the Invisible Visible," April 2, 2013–August 4, 2013, no catalogue.

Jackson, A. V. Williams, and A. Yohannan. Catalogue of the Collection of Persian Manuscripts, Including also some Turkish and Arabic, Presented to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York by Alexander Smith Cochran. Columbia University Indo Iranian Series, vol. 1. New York: Columbia University Press, 1912. pp. XVII-XVIII.

Marteau, Georges, and Henri Vever. Miniatures Persanes. Paris: Bibliotheque d'Art et d'Archeologie, 1913.

Mss. Orientaux de la Biblioteque Nationale. 1914–1920. pp. 17, 18, 25, 27, ill.

Schulz, Ph. Walter. Die Persisch-Islamische Miniaturmalerei. Vol. vols. I, II. Leipzig: Hiersemann, 1914. p. 113, (mentioned).

Dimand, Maurice S. A Handbook of Mohammedan Decorative Arts. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1930. pp. 47, 72-73, ill. fig. 17, 31-32, (b/w).

Dimand, Maurice S. Persian Miniatures. A Picture Book. Metropolitan Museum of Art Picture Books. New York, 1940. ill. fig. 17 (b/w).

Dimand, Maurice S. A Handbook of Muhammadan Art. 2nd rev. and enl. ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1944. pp. 52, 82, 83, ill. figs. 27, 48-49.

Robinson, Basil William. A Descriptive Catalogue of the Persian Paintings in the Bodleain Library. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1958. p. 209.

Grube, Ernst J. "The Early School of Herat and its Impact on Islamic Painting of the Later 15th, the 16th and 17th Centuries." In The Classical Style in Islamic Painting. Venice: Edizioni Oriens, 1968. ill. pl. 46 (b/w).

Ettinghausen, Richard, ed. "Das Pferd in der Orientalischen Kunst." In Europäische Kunstzeitschrift. 1978. ill. p. 70 (color).

Swietochowski, Marie, and Richard Ettinghausen. "Islamic Painting." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, n.s., vol. 36, no. 2 (Autumn 1978). p. 24, ill. p. 24 (b/w), fol. 195.

Mackenzie, Colin, and Irving Finkel, ed. Asian Games The Art of Contest. New York: Asia Society, 2004. no. 22:12, p. 293, ill. (color), folio 61 v.

Mackenzie, Colin. "Games as Signifers of Cultural Identity in Asia: Weiqi and Polo." Orientations Vol. 35 #6 (September, 2004). p. 53, ill. fig. 12 (color), fol. 61 verso A Polo Game.

Lutz, Albert, ed. "Orte der Sehnsucht und Inspiration." In Gärten der Welt. Zürich: Museum Rietberg, 2016. no. 33, pp. 74-75, 301, ill. pl. 75 (color), folio 80v.

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