'Unwan from the Shah Jahan Album

Calligrapher Mir 'Ali Haravi

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A manuscript often opened with an 'unwan, a sumptuous double-page composition framing columns of text. To begin this imperial album, text from a treatise on calligraphy by Mir 'Ali, the celebrated penman of the early sixteenth-century Timurid court of Herat, was pasted onto a folio and decorated with several borders of lavish illumination. The writing itself is surrounded with cloudlike bubbles, around which miniature irises, lilies, and other plants bloom.

'Unwan from the Shah Jahan Album, Mir 'Ali Haravi (died ca. 1550), Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper

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