Calligraphy from the Late Shahjahan Album

Album folio; Page of calligraphy from the late Shah Jahan album; right-hand half of a double-page composition, text: Persian in black nasta’liq script; four diagonal hemistiches; inscribed to Mir Ali; corner embellished with triangular illumination.
Border: The central panel is set in green rulings followed by a calligraphic border containing Persian verses and an outer frame of geometric, animal, and bird motifs mounted on a brown paperboard.

Maker(s)
Calligrapher: Mir Ali (died 1556)
Historical period(s)
Mughal dynasty, circa 1640-1650
Medium
Ink, opaque watercolor and gold on paper
Dimensions
H x W: 36.9 x 25.3 cm (14 1/2 x 9 15/16 in)
Geography
India
Credit Line
Purchase — Smithsonian Unrestricted Trust Funds, Smithsonian Collections Acquisition Program, and Dr. Arthur M. Sackler
Collection
Henri Vever collection
Accession Number
S1986.94
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Manuscript
Type

Manuscript folio

Keywords
bird, goat, Henri Vever collection, India, Mughal dynasty (1526 - 1858), nasta'liq script, WWII-era provenance
Provenance

From at least 1912
Georges Marteau. [1]

To 1942
Henri Vever (1854-1942), Paris and Noyers, France. [2]

From 1942 to 1986
Family member, Paris and Boulogne, France, by inheritance from Henri Vever, Paris and Noyers, France. [3]

From 1986
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, purchased from a family member, Paris and Boulogne, France. [4]

Notes:

[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. 401.

[2] See note 1.

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

[4] See note 3.

Previous Owner(s)

Georges Marteau
Henri Vever 1854 - 1942
Francois Mautin French, born 1907

Description

Album folio; Page of calligraphy from the late Shah Jahan album; right-hand half of a double-page composition, text: Persian in black nasta'liq script; four diagonal hemistiches; inscribed to Mir Ali; corner embellished with triangular illumination.
Border: The central panel is set in green rulings followed by a calligraphic border containing Persian verses and an outer frame of geometric, animal, and bird motifs mounted on a brown paperboard.

Inscription(s)

Bottom page cartouche, "Poor, sinful Ali."

Label

In addition to formal portraits, Shah-Jahan's albums include elaborately designed folios of calligraphy that alternate with the paintings. Almost all bear the signature of the Persian sixteenth-century calligrapher Mir Ali, whose work was avidly collected and admired in India. Written in the nasta'liq script, which was reserved for copying Persian poetry after the late fifteenth century, the calligraphy is set in flower-strewn margins. The central poem reads:

In this ancient wayward inn
How ignorant have human beings remained.
Though they spend a lifetime in wealth and affluence.
They do not appreciate it until they come to grief.

Published References
  • Milo Cleveland Beach. The Imperial Image: Paintings for the Mughal Court., 2nd. Washington and Ahmedabad, India, 2012. cat. 21I, p. 121.
  • Glenn D. Lowry Susan Nemanzee. A Jeweler's Eye: Islamic Arts of the Book from the Vever Collection. Washington and Seattle. cat. 57, pp. 178-179.
  • 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. 344, pp. 290, 293.
Collection Area(s)
Arts of the Islamic World
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
Rights Statement

Copyright with museum