Khamsa (Quintet) and Divan by Khwaju Kirmani (d. 1352 or 1361)

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Historical period(s)
Timurid period, 1438 (841 A.H.)
Ink, opaque watercolor and gold on paper
H x W (overall): 22 x 14.8 cm (8 11/16 x 5 13/16 in)
Iran, Shiraz
Credit Line
Purchase — Smithsonian Unrestricted Trust Funds, Smithsonian Collections Acquisition Program, and Dr. Arthur M. Sackler
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view


Divan, Henri Vever collection, Iran, Khamsa, Timurid period (1378 - 1506), WWII-era provenance

From at least 1912
Fredrik Robert Martin (1868-1933). [1]

From at least 1923
Rudolf Meyer Riefstahl (1880-1936). [2]

To 1942
Henri Vever (1854-1942), Paris and Noyers, France. [3]

From 1942 to 1986
Family member, Paris and Boulogne, France, by inheritance from Henri Vever, Paris and Noyers, France. [4]

From 1986
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, purchased from a family member, Paris and Boulogne, France. [5]


[1] See Susan Nemazee, "Appendix 7: Chart of Recent Provenance" in An Annotated and Illustrated Checklist of the Vever Collection, Glenn D. Lowry et al (Washington, DC: Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; Seattle and London: University of Washington Press, 1988), p. 399.

[2] The object is documented as having appeared in the collection of R. M. Riefstahl by at least April 1923. See citation in note 1.

[3] See Glenn D. Lowry et al., An Annotated and Illustrated Checklist of the Vever Collection (Washington, DC: Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; Seattle and London: University of Washington Press, 1988), pp. 198-202, no. 235.

[4] See the Agreement for the Purchase and Sale of the Henri Vever Collection of January 9, 1986, Collections Management Office.

[5] See note 4.

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

Henri Vever 1854-1942
Fredrik Robert Martin 1868-1933
Rudolf Meyer Riefstahl 1880-1936
Francois Mautin 1907 - 2003


Kamaluddin Abu'l-Ata Mahmud Murshidi, a native of Kirman, was commonly known as Khwaju Kirmani. Born in 1281, he became, during the reign of the Ilkhanid (1256-1353) Sultan Abu-Sa'id (r. 1317-35), one of the court's most noted panegyrists (eulogist). He died in either 1352 or 1361. 

His Khamsa, (Quintet), is loosely based on the Khamsa of the great thirteenth-century poet Nizami. The five poems that make up Khwaju Kirmani's quintet, which was completed in 1345, consist of two romances, Nawroz u Gul and Humay u Humayun as welll as three ethical poems inspired by Sufi mysticism: the Kamalnama (Book of Perfection), the Rawdat al-anwar (Garden of Lights), and the Gawharnama (Book of Jewels).

Published References
  • Rudolf Meyer Riefstahl, Charles Vignier. Objets d'art anciens, céramique chinoise, faiences persanes, fragments de Fostat, panneaux chinois, manuscrits, miniatures, reliures de la Perse, de l'Inde et de l'Egypte: liquidation des biens Meyer-Riefstahl, première vente. no. 128.
  • Fredrik Robert Martin. The Miniature Painting and Painters of Persia, India, and Turkey from the 8th to the 18th Century. 2 vols., London. vol. 2: pl. 243.
  • Thomas W. Lentz. Pictures for the Islamic Book: Persian and Indian Painting in the Vever Collection. vol. 1, no. 4 New York, Fall 1988. pp. 16, 20, fig. 5.
  • Glenn D. Lowry, Susan Nemanzee. A Jeweler's Eye: Islamic Arts of the Book from the Vever Collection. Washington and Seattle. p. 56, pl. 40, fig. 25.
  • Laurence Binyon, J.V.S. Wilkinson, Basil Gray. Persian Miniature Painting: A Descriptive Catalogue of the Miniatures Exhibited at Burlington House, January-March 1931. Exh. cat. Oxford, January - March 1931. cat. 57, pp. 72-73, pls. LIII a&b.
  • Glenn D. Lowry, Milo Cleveland Beach, Elisabeth West FitzHugh, Susan Nemanzee, Janet Snyder. An Annotated and Illustrated Checklist of the Vever Collection. Washington and Seattle. cat. 235, pp. 198-202.
  • Oleg Grabar. Masterpieces of Islamic Art: The Decorated Page from the 8th to the 17th Century., English ed. New York. pp. 223, 57, fig. 123, pl. 3.
  • Catalogue of the International Exhibition of Persian Art. Exh. cat. London. cat. 539b, p. 256.
Collection Area(s)
Arts of the Islamic World
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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