"Allusion to Sura 27:16", Folio from a Mantiq al-Tayr (Language of the Birds)

Author Farid al-Din `Attar Iranian
Calligrapher Sultan 'Ali al-Mashhadi Iranian

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 455

This folio belonged to a manuscript of the Mantiq al-tair that was presented to the Ardabil shrine in 1608–09, more than a century after its text and most of its illustrations were completed. Under the Safavid Shah ‘Abbas, its pages were remounted and four illustrations, a frontispiece, and a new binding were added. For a long time, the text and paintings were assumed to be Timurid, from the original manuscript, but scholars have determined that fifteen folios were added during the Safavid period to replace lost or damaged pages. Scholars are divided on the date of the calligraphy of this folio, but the exquisite marbling of its border was certainly added when the folio was remounted during the rule of Shah ‘Abbas, when this decorative technique, called abri or abru in Persian, was at its peak.

"Allusion to Sura 27:16", Folio from a Mantiq al-Tayr (Language of the Birds), Farid al-Din `Attar (Iranian, Nishapur ca. 1142–ca. 1220 Nishapur), Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper

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folio 47r