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 <em>Khusraw u Shirin</em> by Nizami

Khusraw u Shirin by Nizami

This copy of the celebrated romance between Khusraw and Shirin by the author Nizami (died 1209) is the only known work signed by Mir Ali Tabrizi. The colophon (lower right image) not only mentions Tabriz, the capital of the Jalayirid sultanate, as the place where the manuscript was completed, but it also provides the full name of its master calligrapher: Ali ibn Hasan. Al-Sultani, the honorific epithet (laqab) placed after his name, indicates Mir Ali occupied a prominent position in the royal workshop or he worked directly for Sultan Ahmad Jalayir. Mir Ali Tabrizi’s nasta‘liq handwriting exemplifies the script used between 1370 and 1410 in the Jalayirid centers of Tabriz and Baghdad. According to later authors, he was not the “inventor” (mukhtari‘) of the script but rather the calligrapher who codified it.

Noticeable here is the first use of oblique lines within a text, a trait that was later widely adopted to underscore specific verses in Persian manuscripts.

Khusraw u Shirin by Nizami
Signed by Mir Ali Tabrizi (act. ca. 1370–1410)
Iran, Tabriz, Jalayirid period, ca. 1400
Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper
Freer Gallery of Art F1931.29 folios 50–51 and 126