Sa'di and the Youth of Kashgar

This painting from an illustrated copy of the Gulistan portrays its author, the renowned poet Sa’di, with a youth in the city of Kashgar. When the young man discovers the traveler is from the Perisan city of Shiraz, the birthplace of the celebrated poet Sa’di, he asks the bearded gentleman to recite a poem by Sa‘di—without realizing he is addressing the poet himself.

The focus of the composition, however, is a lively school scene set within a mosque courtyard. Each figure is engaged in a different activity, such as reading and writing. One unfortunate boy, who must have stood up in a hurry, has left his coat behind. He can be seen in the foreground as he is about to receive the bastinado (a beating with a stick), despite his mother pleadings. The carefully balanced and subtly animated figures, coupled with the superbly executed calligraphy in the blue panel framing the building, are stylistic characteristics associated with the artist Bihzad, who may have executed this painting.

Sa‘di and the Youth of Kashgar
Folio from a Gulistan (Rose garden) by Sa‘di (d. 1292)
Ascribed to Bihzad (ca. 1467–1535)
Historic Iran (present-day Afghanistan), Herat, Timurid dynasty, dated AH 891/1486 CE
Opaque watercolor, ink, and gold on paper
Lent by the Art and History Collection   LTS1995.2.33