Calligraphy from the Late Shahjahan Album

Calligrapher: Mir-Ali al-Sultani
Historical period(s)
Mughal dynasty, Reign of Shah Jahan, 1640-1660
Mughal Court
Mughal School
Opaque watercolor, ink, and gold on paper mounted on paperboard
H x W (overall): 37.1 x 25.3 cm (14 5/8 x 9 15/16 in)
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

Detached manuscript folio

Henri Vever collection, India, Mughal dynasty (1526 - 1858), nasta'liq script, Reign of Shah Jahan (1628 - 1658), WWII-era provenance
Provenance research underway.

Folios of calligraphy destined for Shah-Jahan's imperial albums received lavish attention. For instance, the lines of poetry in this example have been set in gold, studded with floral motifs.  Finely rendered flowers--among them tulips, narcissi, poppies--fill the outer margins. Outlined in gold, they resemble precious gemstones in individual settings, meant to enhance the beauty and sumptuousness of the folio as a whole.

Published References
  • Pratapaditya Pal. Romance of the Taj Mahal. Exh. cat. Los Angeles and London. pp. 105, 108.
  • 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. 341, pp. 289-290.
Collection Area(s)
South Asian and Himalayan Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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