Folio from a Mu’nis al-abrar fi daqa’iq al-ash’ar (Free Man’s Guide to the Subtleties of Poetry) by Badr al-Din Jajarmi (d. 1287); The Zodiac constellation of Pisces, the moon, and two registers of birds; reverse: text: verses of poem

Detached folio from a dispersed copy of Mu’nis al-abrar fi daqa’iq al-ash’ar (Free Man’s Guide to the Subtleties of Poetry) by Badr al-Din Jajarmi; Persian in black naskhi script; illustration and text: The Zodiac Constellation of Pisces, the moon, and two registers of birds, 2 columns, 4 lines; reverse: text: verses of poem with gold roundels, 2 columns, 17 lines.
Border: The text and the painting have been remargined and mounted on another paper.

Historical period(s)
Il-Khanid dynasty, Mongol period, 1341 (741 A.H.)
Medium
Opaque watercolor, ink and gold on paper
Dimensions
H x W (paper): 19.5 x 13.4 cm (7 11/16 x 5 1/4 in)
Geography
Iran, Shiraz
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Collection
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
F1946.14
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Manuscript
Type

Manuscript folio

Keywords
bird, fish, Il-Khanid dynasty (1256 - 1353), Iran, moon, naskh script, Pisces, WWII-era provenance, zodiac
Provenance
Provenance information is currently unavailable
Description

Detached folio from a dispersed copy of Mu'nis al-abrar fi daqa'iq al-ash'ar (Free Man's Guide to the Subtleties of Poetry) by Badr al-Din Jajarmi; Persian in black naskhi script; illustration and text: The Zodiac Constellation of Pisces, the moon, and two registers of birds, 2 columns, 4 lines; reverse: text: verses of poem with gold roundels, 2 columns, 17 lines.
Border: The text and the painting have been remargined and mounted on another paper.

Label

This unusual composition is one of six found in a unique, illustrated copy of an anthology of Persian poetry devoted to poetic artifice. The top register prescribes the ideal astrological time for carrying out certain tasks. It reads: 

With the moon in Pisces, study learning and theology,
Make requests from ministers and judges,
Wear whatever new clothes you possess,
Abstain from bleeding. The tale is ended.

The accompanying illustration shows the personification of the moon with a large fish, representing the zodiac sign of Pisces. In the lower inscription band, the author explores the rhetoric possibilities of "enumeration" by listing a series of birds. These are portrayed in two registers, creating an unusual and non-narrative correlation between word and image.

Wiles of francolin, spirit of hawk, quickness of magpie,
Music of nightingale, splendor of huma [mythical bird],
glance of partridge,
Breast of duck, wrath of eagle, beauty of peacock,
Cheek-down like parrot, hair like raven, attainable as simurgh [mythical bird].

Published References
  • Hagop Kevorkian. Exhibition of the Kevorkian Collection Including Objects Excavated Under His Supervision. New York. cats. 68, 264.
  • Marie Lukens Swietochowski, Stephano Carboni. Illustrated Poetry and Epic Images: Persian Painting of the 1330s and 1340s. New York. cat. 7, p. 9.
  • Kurt Holter. Die Islamischen Miniaturhandschriften vor 1350. Leipzig. cat. 48, p. 19.
  • Massumeh Farhad, Serpil Bagci. Falnama: The Book of Omens. Exh. cat. Washington. cat. 11, pp. 24, 94-5, fig. 1.7.
  • Mizra Muhammad b. Adbul'l-Wahhab of Qazqin. An Account of the Mu'nisu alAhrar, a Rare Persian Manusript Belonging to Mr. H. Kevorkian. vol. 5 London, 1928-1939. pp. 97-108.
  • H. Buchtal, O. Kurz, Richard Ettinghausen. Supplemantary Notes to K. Holter's Check List of Islamic Illuminated Manuscripts before A.D. 1350. vol. 7, no. 2 Ann Arbor. cat. 48, p. 155.
Collection Area(s)
Arts of the Islamic World
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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