In the sixteenth century, albums with examples of great painting and calligraphy pasted onto decorated pages became popular. This folio from such an album includes a portrait of a dervish, or member of a mystical religious fraternity, surrounded by lines of poetry from another work. Shown enveloped in a mantle, lost in thought with a string of prayer beads hanging from his sleeve, the dervish embodies the ideal of religious absorption, but the individualized drawing of his face suggests a true portrait.
Inscription: The Persian calligraphy above and below the portrait reads: "Why am I then obliged to Heaven that it has given me a soul? For it has created within me a source of sorrows from which that soul suffers."
Inscription in Persian in Nastaʻliq script (above and below portrait):
چه مشتست ز جان بخشي فلک بر من که چو تو آفت جاني بلاي جانم کرد
Jacques Doucet, Paris (by 1910–d. 1929); Cora Timken Burnett, Alpine, NJ (by 1932–d. 1956; bequeathed to MMA)