Folio from a Mu'nis al-abrar fi daqa'iq al-ash'ar (Free Man's Guide to the Subtleties of Poetry) by Badr al-Din Jajarmi (d. 1287); The Zodiac constellation of Pisces, the moon, and two registers of birds; reverse: text: verses of poem
Detached manuscript folio
Il-Khanid dynasty, Mongol period, 1341 (741 A.H.)
Opaque watercolor, ink and gold on paper
H x W (paper): 19.5 x 13.4 cm (7 11/16 x 5 1/4 in)
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Freer Gallery of Art
Detached folio from a dispersed copy of Mu'nis al-abrar fi daqa'iq al-ash'ar (Free Man's Guide to the Subtleties of Poetry) by Badr al-Din Jajarmi; Persian in black naskhi script; illustration and text: The Zodiac Constellation of Pisces, the moon, and two registers of birds, 2 columns, 4 lines; reverse: text: verses of poem with gold roundels, 2 columns, 17 lines.
Border: The text and the painting have been remargined and mounted on another paper.
This unusual composition is one of six found in a unique, illustrated copy of an anthology of Persian poetry devoted to poetic artifice. The top register prescribes the ideal astrological time for carrying out certain tasks. It reads: With the moon in Pisces, study learning and theology,Make requests from ministers and judges,Wear whatever new clothes you possess,Abstain from bleeding. The tale is ended. The accompanying illustration shows the personification of the moon with a large fish, representing the zodiac sign of Pisces. In the lower inscription band, the author explores the rhetoric possibilities of "enumeration" by listing a series of birds. These are portrayed in two registers, creating an unusual and non-narrative correlation between word and image. Wiles of francolin, spirit of hawk, quickness of magpie,Music of nightingale, splendor of huma [mythical bird],glance of partridge,Breast of duck, wrath of eagle, beauty of peacock,Cheek-down like parrot, hair like raven, attainable as simurgh [mythical bird].