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

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

Farid al-Din `Attar (ca. 1142–1220)
Object Name:
Folio from an illustrated manuscript
A.H. 892/A.D. 1486
Attributed to present-day Afghanistan, Herat
Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper
15 1/2 x 8in. (39.4 x 20.3cm)
Credit Line:
Fletcher Fund, 1963
Accession Number:
Not on view
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.
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)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Perfect Page: The Art of Embellishment in Islamic Book Design," May 17, 1991–August 18, 1991, no catalogue.

Mexico City. Colegio de San Ildefonso. "Arte islamico del Museo Metropolitano de Arte de Nueva York," September 30, 1994–January 8, 1995, no. 7.

New York. Brooklyn Museum. "Light of the Sufis: an introduction to the mystical arts of Islam," June 5, 2009–September 7, 2009, not in catalogue.

Houston. Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. "Light of the Sufis: an introduction to the mystical arts of Islam," May 16, 2010–August 8, 2010, not in catalogue.

"Masterpieces from The Metropolitan Museum of Art New York." In The Arts of Islam. Berlin, 1981. no. 67, pp. 172-173, ill. p. 173 (color).

Schimmel, Annemarie. "Islamic Calligraphy." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, n.s., vol. 50, no. 1 (Summer 1992). pp. 34-35, ill. fig. 43 (color), back cover (color).

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Daniel S. Walker, Arturo Ponce Guadián, Sussan Babaie, Stefano Carboni, Aimee Froom, Marie Lukens Swietochowski, Tomoko Masuya, Annie Christine Daskalakis-Matthews, Abdallah Kahil, and Rochelle Kessler. "Colegio de San Ildefonso, Septiembre de 1994-Enero de 1995." In Arte Islámico del Museo Metropolitano de Arte de Nueva York. Mexico City: Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes, 1994. no. 7, pp. 58-59, p. 59 (color).

Blair, Sheila S. Islamic Calligraphy. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Library, 2006. pp. 282-283, 430, fig. 7.17.

Kamada, Yumiko. "An Illustrated Manuscript of Mantiq al-Tayr in the Metropolitan Museum of Art." Orient vol. XLV (2010).

Blair, Sheila S., and Jonathan Bloom. By the Pen and What they Write. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2015. pp. 120, 122, ill. pl. 94.