Nan va Halva (Breads and Sweets)

Author Muhammad Baha' al-Din al-'Amili Iranian, born Syria

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 463

The text of this book is a series of moralizing poems on the merits of the ascetic life, three of which are illustrated. This painting illustrates the parable of a recluse who accepts bread from an infidel (depicted here as the English monarch Charles II) and is chided by a dog. The beautiful birds in the margin of the page compete for attention with the witty illustration. Another painting illustrating this poem shows the recluse praying in the wilderness.

A third painting accompanies a poem on the regrets of a life spent learning useless information; the artist has shown a school where only the sciences are taught, its teachers dozing, meditating and drinking.

A final image accompanies a poem about hypocrisy—it shows the widow Bibi Tamiz praying, although she is known to be a prostitute.

Nan va Halva (Breads and Sweets), Muhammad Baha' al-Din al-'Amili (Iranian, born Syria, Baalbek 1547–1621 Isfahan), Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper
Binding: leather

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