Folio from a Khusraw u Shirin by Nizami; verso: Shirin visits the sculptor Farhad at work; recto: text

Detached folio from the Khusraw u Shirin by Nizami; text: Persian in black nasta’liq script; recto: text, 4 columns, 23 lines; verso: illustration: Shirin visits the sculptor Farhad at work; one of a group of 7 detached folios (F1931-37) from the manuscript (F1931.29) and the book binding (F 1931.30); accessioned separately.
Binding: The painting and the text are set in gold, green and blue rulings on gold-sprinkled paper.

Maker(s)
Calligrapher: Ali ibn Hasan al-Sultani
Historical period(s)
Jalayirid period, ca. 1400
Medium
Ink, opaque watercolor and gold on paper
Dimensions
H x W: 26.1 x 17.6 cm (10 1/4 x 6 15/16 in)
Geography
Iran
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Collection
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
F1931.35
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Manuscript
Type

Manuscript folio

Keywords
Farhad, Iran, Jalayirid dynasty (1340 - 1432), landscape, mountain, Shirin
Provenance

To 1931
Hagop Kevorkian (1872-1962), New York to 1931 [1]

From 1931
Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from Hagop Kevorkian, New York in 1931 [2]

Notes:

[1] Object file, undated folder sheet note. See also Freer Gallery of Art Purchase List file, Collections Management Office.

[2] See note 1.

Previous Owner(s)

Hagop Kevorkian 1872-1962

Description

Detached folio from the Khusraw u Shirin by Nizami; text: Persian in black nasta’liq script; recto: text, 4 columns, 23 lines; verso: illustration: Shirin visits the sculptor Farhad at work; one of a group of 7 detached folios (F1931-37) from the manuscript (F1931.29) and the book binding (F 1931.30); accessioned separately.
Binding: The painting and the text are set in gold, green and blue rulings on gold-sprinkled paper.

Label

One of the most brilliant Timurid patrons of the arts of the book was Baysunghur Mirza (died 1434), Ibrahim Sultan's brother. A superb calligrapher and poet himself, Baysunghur Mirza established a celebrated library and painting atelier in Herat and commissioned his artists to produce numerous illustrated manuscripts. Their efforts dramatically changed the course of Timurid painting. By refining and codifying the earlier Jalayrid style, they developed a distinct pictorial language that depended on carefully balanced compositions, fine draftsmanship, and a rich, vibrant palette.

Shirin Visits Farhad, from one of the earliest extant illustrated copies of Nizami's celebrated love poem, displays many of these formal characteristics. Set within a carefully executed, stylized landscape, the idealized figures appear to be surrounded by a profound stillness that accentuates their formality and aloofness. Only the towering rocks, as if shaped by molten lava, convey the emotional intensity of the moment when the sculptor Farhad catches sight of his beloved Shirin, whose likeness he has chiseled into the rocks as a token of his affection. The faces were rubbed out at a later date by someone objecting to figural representation.

Published References
  • The Eye of the Shah: Qajar Court Photography and the Persian Past. Exh. cat. New York. .
  • Elias John Wilkinson Gibb. History of Ottoman Poetry. 6 vols., London. vol. 1.
  • Freer Gallery of Art. Gallery Book II: Exhibition of August 19, 1933. Washington, August 19, 1933. .
  • Priscilla P. Soucek. Illustrated Manuscript of Nizami's "Khamseh" 1386-1482. 2 vols. Ann Arbor. pl. 69.
  • A. V. Williams Jackson. Persia, Past and Present: A Book of Travel and Research. London and New York, 1906-1909. ch. 15.
  • Hon. George N. Curzon. Persia and the Persian Question. 2 vols., London and New York. vol. 1: p. 560 ff.
  • Edward G. Browne. A Literary History of Persia. 4 vols., Cambridge, England. vol. 2: p. 405.
  • B. W. Robinson. Fifteenth-Century Persian Painting: Problems and Issues. Hagop Kevorkian Series on Near Eastern Art and Civilization New York. p. 4.
  • Dr. Esin Atil. Exhibition of 2500 Years of Persian Art. Exh. cat. Washington, 1971. cat. 21, p. 8.
  • A. T. Adamova. Mediaeval Persian Painting: The Evolution of an Artistic Vision. Biennial Ehsan Yarshater Lecture Series, no. 3 New York. p. 56.
  • Oleg Akimushkin, Priscilla P. Soucek. The Arts of the Book in Central Asia: 14th - 16th Centuries. London and Paris. pp. 111, 117, fig. 68.
  • Mehmet Aga-Oglu. The Khusrau wa Shirin Manuscript in the Freer Gallery. vol. IV Ann Arbor. pp. 479-481, fig. 4.
Collection Area(s)
Arts of the Islamic World
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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