Mir 'Ali is often mentioned by Safavid sources as among the most important nasta'liq calligraphers of all time. Various authorities attribute the codifying of the aesthetic rules of nasta'liq script to him. Born in Herat circa 1476, he was later taken to Bukhara by the Shaybanid ruler 'Ubaydullah Khan after his capture of Herat in AH 935/1528-29 AD (Mehdi Bayani, Ahval va Asar-e Khosh-Nevisan, vol. II, Tehran 1346 sh., p.494). His recorded works are dated between AH 914/1508-09 AD and AH 951/1544-45 AD.
Two nasta'liq couplets at the beginning of this manuscript, which are in praise of the penmanship, are signed by Shah Mahmud al-Nishapuri and al-faqir malik, presumably referring to Malik al-Daylami. Nishapuri and Daylami were both in the service of the Safavid Shah Tahmasp (r.1524-76). It is a testament to the skill and elegance of Mir 'Ali's calligraphy that it was praised by two further highly regarded royal Safavid calligraphers, each particularly recognized for their skill in composing nasta'liq.
A Diwan of Ali Shir Nawa'i copied by Mir 'Ali dated to October/November 1538 AD was sold in these Rooms, 6 October 2009, lot 88. A manuscript with similar illustrious illumination, made for a Wazir at the court of Shaybanid ruler 'Abdullah Khan (r.1556-1598) at Bukhara, was sold in these Rooms, 4 October 2012, lot 14.