"The Beggar who Professed his Love for a Prince", Folio 28r from a Mantiq al-tair (Language of the Birds)
Farid al-Din `Attar (ca. 1142–1220)
Folio from an illustrated manuscript
dated A.H. 892/A.D. 1487
Made in present-day Afghanistan, Herat
Ink, opaque watercolor, silver, and gold on paper
Painting: H. 8 3/8 in. (21.3 cm) W. 4 1/2 in. (11.4 cm) Page: H. 13 1/16 in. (33.2 cm) W. 8 7/16 in. (21.4 cm) Mat: H. 19 1/4 in. (48.9 cm) W. 14 1/4 in. (36.2 cm)
Fletcher Fund, 1963
Not on view
This painting once formed part of a rare surviving illustrated copy of Farid al‑Din 'Attar’s mystical poem, the Mantiq al‑Tair (Language of the Birds). Commissioned by a wealthy patron during the reign of the Timurid ruler Sultan Husain Baiqara (r. 1470–1506) at Herat, the manuscript contains four fifteenth‑century paintings—attributed by some to the celebrated master Bihzad.
Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings
Inscription: Definition: Persian Location: Upper right; on frieze of palace; word "waqf" in ink beneath the throne.
Marking: Inscribed & dated; seal of Shah Abbas upper right; word "waqf."
Shah Abbas I, Isfahan, Iran (ca. 1600–1608; presented to Ardebil Shrine); Ardebil Shrine, Iran (ca. 1608–sack of Ardebil, 1826); M. Farid Parbanta(until 1963; sale, Sotheby's, London,December 9, 1963, no. 111, to MMA)
Washington. Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution. "Timur and the Princely Vision. Persian Art and Culture in the Fifteenth Century," April 14, 1989–July 6, 1989, no. 153.
Los Angeles. Los Angeles County Museum of Art. "Timur and the Princely Vision. Persian Art and Culture in the Fifteenth Century," August 13, 1989–November 5, 1989, no. 153.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Princely Patrons: Three Royal Manuscripts of the Timurid Dynasty," March 4, 1995–June 4, 1995, no catalogue.
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. 33 (b/w).
Swietochowski, Marie. "The historical background and illustrative character of the Metropolitan Museum's Mantiq al-Tayr of 1483." In Islamic Art in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, edited by Richard Ettinghausen. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1972. p. 54, ill. fig. 19 (b/w).
Swietochowski, Marie, and Richard Ettinghausen. "Islamic Painting." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, n.s., vol. 36, no. 2 (Autumn 1978). pp. 22-23, ill. p. 22 (color).
Lentz, Thomas W., and Glenn D. Lowry. "Persian Art and Culture in the Fifteenth Century." In Timur and the Princely Vision. Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1989. no. 153, p. 360.
Subtelny, Maria. "Aspects de l'Histoire Culturelle de l'Iran Medieval." In Le Monde est un Jardin. Les Cahiers de Studia Iranica, vol. 28. Paris: Association pour l'avancement des etudes iraniennes, 2002. p. 105, ill. fig. 8 (b/w).
Barry, Mike, and Stuart Cary Welch. "et l'Enigme de Behzad de Herat (1465–1535)." In L'Art Figuratif en Islam Medieval. Paris: Flammarion, 2004. pp. 174-175, ill. p. 174 (color).
O'Kane, Bernard, ed. "Studies in Honour of Robert Hillenbrand." In The Iconography of Islamic Art:. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2005. p. 82, ill. fig. 5.1 (b/w).
Kamada, Yumiko. "An Illustrated Manuscript of Mantiq al-Tayr in the Metropolitan Museum of Art." Orient vol. XLV (2010). pp. 135-136, 165, 173, ill. fig. 1.