• Art of the Islamic and Indian  auction at Christies

    Sale 7751

    Art of the Islamic and Indian Worlds

    6 October 2009, London, King Street

  • Lot 88

    MIR 'ALISHIR NAVA'I (D. 1501 AD): DIWAN

    SIGNED MIR 'ALI HARAWI, SAMARKAND, DATED THURSDAY JUMADA II AH 945/OCTOBER-NOVEMBER 1538 AD

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    MIR 'ALISHIR NAVA'I (D. 1501 AD): DIWAN
    SIGNED MIR 'ALI HARAWI, SAMARKAND, DATED THURSDAY JUMADA II AH 945/OCTOBER-NOVEMBER 1538 AD
    Persian manuscript on paper, 121ff. plus 2 fly-leaves, each folio with 15ll. of black nasta'liq divided in two columns with gold intercolumnar divisions, titles in coloured naskh on gold floral ground within illuminated panels, the text within gold and polychrome borders, catchwords, opening shamsa within an illuminated cartouche, opening bifolio with 7ll. of black nasta'liq within cloud bands on illuminated ground, with remarkably fine floral illumination around, the following folio with illuminated headpiece, colophon possibly tampered with, within illuminated panels, two 16th and one 18th century seal impressions, some waterstaining, in contemporary binding with gilt stamped medallion
    Text panel 6 1/8 x 3¾in. (15.5 x 9.4cm.); folio 10 x 6¼in. (25.4 x 15.8cm.)


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    Mir 'Ali is often mentioned by Safavid sources as among the most important nasta'liq calligraphers of the time, despite never being in the service of a Safavid court. Born in Herat circa 1476, in 1528 he was deported to Bukhara after the capture of the city by the Shaybanid ruler 'Ubayd Khan, where he remained until his death circa 1556. His recorded works are dated between AH 914/1508-09 AD and AH 951/1544-45 AD.

    Beside a short note copied in Samarkand in 1528, the year Mir 'Ali was taken from Herat to Bukhara, there is no other record of him being in this city. Bayani suggested that Samarkand might have been a stopping place en route to Bukhara (Mehdi Bayani, Aval va Asar-e Khosh-Nevisan, Vol.II, Tehran, 1346 sh., pp. 493-516). The unusual signature of Mir 'Ali with the nisba Haravi, reinforcing the fact that he is from Herat, further indicates that this was written away from his hometown.

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