One of the fathers of Modern calligraphy in Iran, Reza Mafi came from a family of calligraphers and soon became a pioneer of the Naqqashi-Khat movement along with Mohammed Ehsai and Nasrollah Afjehei. Trained as a classical calligrapher, his technique and application of the letter revealed his Modern influences as he combined local writing styles with techniques and forms adapted from Western Modern art and his works often encompassed calligraphic compositions with underlying political messages. His most sought-after works are his shaped and three-dimensional compositions inspired by colourful Persian tileworks, of which the present work is an outstanding example.
Experimenting the expressive qualities of the Nastaliq - a hanging script developed in Iran during the fifteenth century that became the script of choice in most of the Persian poetic manuscripts - Reza Mafi focused on the hanging tails of the letters and reduced the script to its essentials, thus creating an abstract composition.
The present lot, an exceptional example from his most important series of work, references a poem by the acclaimed Omar Khayyam. A delicate and striking composition in which hues of blue and gold are reminiscent of the majestic architecture of the Islamic monument, the work equally reveals the artist's cross-cultural experimentation.