Tuhfat al-ahrar (Gift of the free) by Jami (d. 1492)

Detail of a pattern
Image 1 of 5

Terms of Use

Usage Conditions Apply

At A Glance

  • Period

    circa 1540
  • Geography

    Bukhara, Uzbekistan
  • Material

    Ink, opaque watercolor and gold on paper
  • Dimension

    H x W (overall): 28.2 x 18.1 cm (11 1/8 x 7 1/8 in)
  • Accession Number



Object Details

  • Calligrapher

    Mahmud Mudhahibb
  • Description

    Manuscript; Tuhfat al-ahrar (Gift of the free) by Jami; Persian in black nasta'liq script; headings in gold and red; 78 folios with a signed double-page frontispiece (folio 1 verso, 2 recto), one sarlawh (folio 2 verso), and a dated colophon, inscriptions and seals (folio 78 verso); standard page: two columns, 13 lines of text.
    Binding: The manuscript is bound in leather over paper pasteboards with gold block-stamped exterior covers; the doublures are of gold block-stamped and leather filigree over a multicolored paper ground. The envelop flap has a border identical to that on the upper and lower covers; the pages of the manuscript are mounted in multicolored borders decorated with gold floral designs and marginal medallions.
  • Previous custodian or owner

    Octave Marie Joseph Kérim Homberg Sr. (1844-1907)
    Octave Homberg
    Henri Vever (1854-1942)
    Jeanne Louise Monthiers (1861-1947)
    Francois Mautin (1907-2003)
  • Provenance

    Possibly to 1907
    Possibly Octave Marie Joseph Kérim Homberg Sr. (1844-1907), method of acquisition unknown [1]
    Likely 1907-1931
    Octave Marie Joseph Kérim Homberg Jr. (1876-1941), possibly by inheritance from his father, Octave Marie Joseph Kérim Homberg Sr. [2]
    Sale, Paris, Galerie Georges Petit, « Catalogue des tableaux anciens : objets d'art et de haute curiosité européens et orientaux ... la collection de Octave Homberg, : Juin 3, 2, & 5, 1931, lot 88 [3]
    Henri Vever (1854-1942), likely purchased at Galerie Georges Petit Sale in June 1931 [4]
    Jeanne Louise Monthiers (1861-1947), bequest of Henri Vever [5]
    Francois Mautin (1907-2003), bequest of Jeanne Louise Monthiers and Henri Vever [6]
    From 1986
    Arthur M. Sackler Gallery purchased from Francois Mautin [7]
    [1] Octave Homberg Senior was a Censor of the Bank of France before becoming the Director of the Société Générale, one of the oldest banks in France. He amassed a diverse collection of fine arts, which included medieval European sculpture and Islamic manuscripts and objects. Upon his death, he bequeathed most of his collection to his son, Octave Homberg Jr. The rest was sold
    at auction at Galerie Georges Petit on May 11-16, 1908 in Paris, France.
    [2] Octave Homberg Jr. was a French diplomat, banker, writer, and collector. As one of France's foremost financiers, he served as the French financial agent in the United States and part of the Anglo-French Commission. In the early 1930s, Homberg suffered financial troubles and in 1931 sold most of his art collection, the majority of which he had inherited from his father. It's possible that Homberg Senior bequeathed this manuscript to his son, Homberg Jr., see note 1.
    [3] Galerie Georges Petit, "Catalogue des tableaux anciens : objets d'art et de haute curiosité européens et orientaux ... la collection de Octave Homberg" [auction catalogue] (Paris, June 3-5, 1931), lot 92. See annotations from this auction on the verso of last folio.
    [4] An accomplished French jeweler and collector, Henri Vever (1854-1942) amassed a large and impressive collection of
    works of art during his lifetime. His holdings in Japanese prints and Islamic arts of the books, especially from Iran and India, were among the most important assembled in the early twentieth century. As indicated by annotations on the interior of the manuscript, Vever purchased this manuscript from at the Galerie Georges Petit auction in June 1931 (see note 3). This work was in Vever's collection at the time of his death in 1942.
    [5] 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.
    [6] 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 work is part of that collection. See exhibits F and G as cited in note 5.
    [7] 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 on June 26, 2022.
  • Origin

    Bukhara, Uzbekistan
  • Credit Line

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

  • Restrictions and Rights

    Usage Conditions Apply

    There are restrictions for re-using this media. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

    The information presented on this website may be revised and updated at any time as ongoing research progresses or as otherwise warranted. Pending any such revisions and updates, information on this site may be incomplete or inaccurate or may contain typographical errors. Neither the Smithsonian nor its regents, officers, employees, or agents make any representations about the accuracy, reliability, completeness, or timeliness of the information on the site. Use this site and the information provided on it subject to your own judgment. The National Museum of Asian Art welcomes information that would augment or clarify the ownership history of objects in their collections.

Keep Exploring