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Sample of Persian Calligraphy from a Mughal Album

Asian Art

Set against a gilded background, two couplets of romantic poetry appear in the elegant nastaʿlīq script. The face of the beloved, considered the reflection of divine love, is fittingly compared to a bright moon and admired for its beauty: “Your face is flushed [and] has become [like] a bright moon; you have exalted your stature [and] have become the envy of the [tall] cypress.” A signature identifying “the lowly scribe, ʿAli” may refer to the talented sixteenth-century calligrapher Mir ʿAli al-Husayni al-Katib al-Haravi, also known as Mir ʿAli. The calligraphy was mounted on a seventeenth-century Indian album page decorated with flora and fauna in a Europeanizing style typical of the Mughal artistic tradition. It is possible that the folio, like the page with a portrait of the Sufi Shaykh Chishti displayed nearby, once belonged to the Shah Jahan Album.
MEDIUM Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper
DATES 16th century; margins 17th century
DIMENSIONS image: 7 13/16 x 3 14/16 in. (19.8 x 9.7 cm) sheet: 14 7/16 x 10 in. (36.7 x 25.4 cm) mat: 16 x 22 in. (40.6 x 55.9 cm)  (show scale)
SIGNATURE 'Ali (possibly Mir 'Ali, d. 1544)
INSCRIPTIONS In Persian, Your face is flushed [and] has become [like] a bright moon You have exalted your stature [and] have become the envy of the [tall] cypress; The beauty of your face increases day by day; Although you were beautiful yesterday, you are more beautiful today. Translated by Dr. Layla S. Diba and Dr. Ehsan Yarshater
CREDIT LINE Purchased with funds given by anonymous donors and Helen Babbott Sanders Fund
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CAPTION Ali Haravi. Sample of Persian Calligraphy from a Mughal Album, 16th century; margins 17th century. Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper, image: 7 13/16 x 3 14/16 in. (19.8 x 9.7 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Purchased with funds given by anonymous donors and Helen Babbott Sanders Fund, 1991.185 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 1991.185_IMLS_SL2.jpg)
IMAGE overall, 1991.185_IMLS_SL2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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