Mathnavi-ye ma'navi (Rhyming couplets of profound spriritual meaning) by Rumi (d.1273)

Detail of a pattern
Image 1 of 6

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At A Glance

  • Period

    1458-1459 (863 A.H.) (text); ca. 1530 (illumination and painting)
  • Geography

    Herat (text), Afghanistan
  • Material

    Ink, opaque watercolor and gold on paper
  • Dimension

    H x W: 16.4 x 10.5 cm (6 7/16 x 4 1/8 in)
  • Accession Number



Object Details

  • Calligrapher

    Sultan Ali b. Muhammad al-Mashhadi
  • Author

    Rumi (Mawlana Jalal al-Din Rumi) (1207-1273)
  • Description

    Manuscript; The fifth daftar (book) of Mathnavi by Rumi; Persian in black and red nasta'liq script; 44 folios with 1double-page frontispiece (fols. 1 verso- 2 recto) and 1 sarlawh (folio 2 verso), a dated colophon (folio 44 recto); inscriptions (fols. flyleaf, 1 recto, fol. 44 recto/ verso); seals (fols1 recto, and 44 recto/verso); standard page: 4 columns, 19 lines of text.
    Binding: The manuscript is bound in contemporary leather over paper pasteboards with gold block-stamped designs on the exterior covers and doublures of leather filigree over a multicolored paper ground punctuated with inlaid pieces of mica. The envelop flap has a surface and border identical to that on the upper and lower covers.
  • Previous custodian or owner

    Francois Mautin (1907-2003)
    Jeanne Louise Monthiers (1861-1947)
    Henri Vever (1854-1942)
  • Provenance

    At least 1931-1942
    Henri Vever (1854-1942), method of acquisition unknown [1]
    Jeanne Louise Monthiers (1861-1947), bequest of Henri Vever [2]
    Francois Mautin (1907-2003), bequest of Jeanne Louise Monthiers and Henri Vever [3]
    From 1986
    Arthur M. Sackler Gallery purchased from Francois Mautin [4]
    [1] An accomplished French jeweler and collector, Henri Vever amassed a large collection of fine art. His collections of Japanese prints and Islamic manuscripts were widely respected, as Vever acquired pieces of exceptional quality and rarity. Intensely studying the visual aspects of Islamic art, loaning to exhibitions, and publishing on Islamic art, Vever quickly became one of the leading experts on Islamic painting and manuscripts. This work was in Vever's collection at the time of his death in 1942.
    It is unclear when and from whom Vever acquired this manuscript. Vever had this object by 1931, when it was published in René Grousset, "The Civilizations of the East" [book], trans. by Catherine Alison Phillips, vol. 1 (London: Hamish Hamilton, 1931), 273 and loaned to the London exhibition. This work was in Vever's collection at the time of his death in 1942.
    [2] Upon Henri Vever's death on September 25, 1942, his wife, Jeanne Louise Monthiers inherited the work. See exhibits F and G of Agreement of Purchase and Sale of the Henri Vever Collection, January 9, 1986, copy in object file.
    [3] Upon the death of Jeanne Louise Monthiers, as stipulated in the will of Henri Vever, the family's assets were divided evenly between his two grandchildren. His only grandson, Francois Mautin inherited the collection known as "The Henri Vever Collection of Oriental Art and Manuscripts Including Persian and Indian Art and Manuscripts." This object is part of that collection. See exhibits F and G as cited in note 2.
    [4] The Arthur M. Sackler Gallery purchased the entirety of the collection from Francois Mautin on January 9, 1986. See purchase agreement, copy in object file.
    Research completed June 23, 2022.
  • Origin

    Herat (text), Afghanistan
    Tabriz (painting), Iran
  • Credit Line

    Purchase — Smithsonian Unrestricted Trust Funds, Smithsonian Collections Acquisition Program, and Dr. Arthur M. Sackler
  • Type

  • Restrictions and Rights

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