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<em>Farman</em> of the Ilkhan Gaykhatu

Farman of the Ilkhan Gaykhatu

Scribes favored the cursive script ta‘liq (“hanging”) for writing administrative and diplomatic documents. Taj al-Din Salmani allegedly invented the script around 1400, but ta‘liq was in fact used much earlier, as this decree from the late thirteenth century attests. The first three large lines are in Turkish and the nine subsequent ones are in Persian.

Issued by the Mongol Ilkhanid vizier Sadr al-Din Zanjani to his ruler, the Ilkhan Gaykhatu (reigned 1291–95), this decree, or farman, granting a tax exemption presents an archaic form of the script. Intertwined words and overly curvaceous lines make this Persian text extremely difficult to read for unaccustomed eyes. Slopes, loops, and contrast between the expansion and compression of some letters were later adopted in a subdued manner for nasta‘liq.

It is said Mir Ali Tabrizi developed the new script naskh-i ta‘liq by combining selected features of the naskh and ta‘liq styles.

Farman of the Ilkhan Gaykhatu
Probably northwestern Iran, Ilkhanid period, dated 1292 (692 AH)
Ink on paper
Lent by the Art and History Collection LTS1995.2.9