Firman of Muhammad Shah Qajar

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In addition to being a historic document with an important message, firmans, or royal edicts, like this one are also stunning works of art in their own right. This edict contains eight lines of text—all crowned by the seal of Muhammad Shah Qajar (third ruler of the Qajar dynasty, r. 1834–48). It is a response to a letter addressed to Mirza Husain Khan, the governor of Na’in (region in central Iran). An interesting feature of the text is that the words at the end of each line are stacked. Although this may have been due to a lack of space, it was more likely an aesthetic choice made by the calligrapher.

Firman of Muhammad Shah Qajar, Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper

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