Folio from a Divan (collected poems) by Sultan Ahmad Jalayir (d.1410); recto: River scene; verso: text

Historical period(s)
Jalayirid dynasty, circa 1400
Ink and color washes on paper
H x W: 29.4 x 20.6 cm (11 9/16 x 8 1/8 in)
Iran or Iraq
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Manuscript folio

crane, divan, duck, Iran, Iraq, Jalayirid dynasty (1340 - 1432), landscape, poems, river, sultan

To 1932
Dr. Jacob Hirsch, New York to 1932 [1]

From 1932
Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from Dr. Jacob Hirsch, New York in 1932 [2]


[1] Object file, undated folder sheet note.

[2] See note 1. Also see Freer Gallery of Art Purchase List file, Collections Management Office. For further information in connection with this purchase see letter to Dr. Hirsch written by M. Aga-Oglu, January 4, 1932, Letter File (Hirsch).

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

Dr. Jacob Hirsch 1874?-1955


Among the Persian manuscripts in the Freer Gallery is a rare volume of poetry written by Sultan Ahmad, the last ruler of the Jalayirid dynasty (Iraq and western Iran, 1336-1410). The sultan's poems concern mystical themes, extolling divind love and praising God the creator. They are set off in this manuscript of the Diwan by delicate tinted drawings that seem to grow out from under the calligraphy and into the margins. Although these unusual scenes do not directly depict their nearest verses, they do evoke the idea of man's quest for spiritual enlightenment, a theme common to virtually all Persian mystical poetry.

This harmonious river scene enhances the poetic vision of an ideal universe where God's creations follow a unified natural rhythm. This work also epitomizes the classical style of Persian painting that began to develop in the second half of the fourteenth century under the auspices of royal patrons such as Sultan Ahmad Jalayirid.

Published References
  • Freer Gallery of Art. Gallery Book III: Exhibition of September 5, 1933. Washington, September 5, 1933. .
  • Fredrik Robert Martin, Sir Thomas W. Arnold. Miniatures from the Period of Timur: In an MS. of the Poems of Sultan Ahmad Jalair. Vienna. p. 14, pl. 8.
  • Tomoko Masuya. Illuminations for the Divan of Sultan Ahmad Jalayir. vol. 1428 Tokyo, 2014. p. 18, fig. 8.
  • Dr. Esin Atil. The Brush of the Masters: Drawings from Iran and India. Exh. cat. Washington, 1978. cat. 7, p. 27.
  • Deborah E. Klimberg Salter. A Sufi Theme in Persian Painting: The Diwan of Sultan Ahmad Gala in the Freer Gallery of Art. vol. 11 Wiesbaden, 1976-1977. pp. 43-84, fig. 10.
  • E. Bahari, I.B. Tauris Publishers. Bihzad, Master of Persian Painting. London and New York. cat. 23, pp. 168-69, fig. 101.
Collection Area(s)
Arts of the Islamic World
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
SI Usage Statement

Usage Conditions Apply

There are restrictions for re-using this image. 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 Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery welcome information that would augment or clarify the ownership history of objects in their collections.

Related Objects