The verses on the calligraphy are in praise of Sultan Husayn Bayqara (r. 1459-1506 AD). The signature reads 'The sinful slave Mir 'Ali wrote it'. Along the left side is an inscription with a relatively obscure significance which reads “it is no wonder that his name should give comfort to the troubled, the sin of his name is like a commander at (the head of) the shin” . The sin would possibly refer to the letter sin in the 'sultan' and the shin to the letter shin in 'shah'.
Mir 'Ali al-Katib (d.1556) is often mentioned by Safavid sources as amongst 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. The works of leading Persian calligraphers were particularly prized at the Mughal court and Mir ‘Ali was amongst those particularly admired by Jahangir. A large number of qit’as signed by him found their way into important Mughal albums, and he is the calligrapher responsible for most of the specimens in the late Shah Jahan album. It is possible that they were bought to the Mughal court by way of his son Muhammad Baqir who emigrated to India and was mentioned by Abu’l Fazl’s in his Ain-i Akbari (Islamic Calligraphy, exhibition catalogue, Geneva, 1998, no.54, pp.170-71).