Page of Calligraphy from a Mantiq al-Tayr (Language of the Birds)
Author Farid al-Din `Attar Iranian
Not on view
The manuscript of the Mantiq al-tair (The Language of the Birds) from which this leaf comes was copied by one of the greatest of all Persian calligraphers, Sultan Ali Mashhadi, who worked in Herat at the court of the last member of the Timurid dynasty to rule on Iranian soil, Sultan Husain Mirza (d.1506). In about 1600, Shah 'Abbas I, known as "the Great", with his capital in Isfahan, had the manuscript refurbished prior to making a gift of it to his family shrine in Ardebil. The pages were all remounted mostly set into different colored gold-flecked borders, as here, and a few with marbleized patterns. A new frontispiece was added by the esteemed illuminator, Zain al-'Abidin of Tabriz, and four miniatures were added to blank spaces in the manuscript, making up the full complement of eight. A new tooled and gilded binding was also added, all work being completed by the time of the manuscript's presentation to the Ardebil shrine in 1609.
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