'Ali Ashraf was one of the foremost artists of his generation, particularly celebrated for his gul-o bulbul designs. A similar octagonal mirror case signed by ’Ali Ashraf and dated AH 1165/1751-52 AD is in the Brooklyn Museum (Maryam Ekhtiar, ‘Muhammad Isma'il Isfahani: Master Lacquer painter’, Sheila Blair (ed.), Persian Masters, Five Centuries of Painting, Bombay, 1990, pl.1, pp.190-191). ‘Ali Ashraf’s floruit has been much debated but his artistic activity is well-attested only from the 1730s onwards. It is his bindings that cover both the Windsor Castle Shahnama and the St. Petersburg Muraqqa'. For a fuller discussion of this artist, together with a number of his works, please see Nasser D. Khalili, B.W. Robinson, and Tim Stanley, Lacquer of the Islamic Lands, Part 1, London, 1996, pp.72-97.