Portfolio, Islamic
Lot 42*
An album (muraqqa') of 38 pages of naskhi, nasta'liq, ta'liq and shikasteh calligraphy, with works signed by Visal Shirazi, Muhammad Kazim Valeh, and a découpé page attributed to Mir 'Ali Harawi Persia, 16th-19th Century
Sold for £5,625 (US$ 9,028) inc. premium

Lot Details
An album (muraqqa) of 38 pages of naskhi, nasta'liq, ta'liq and shikasteh calligraphy, with works signed by Visal Shirazi, Muhammad Kazim Valeh, and a découpe page attributed to Mir 'Ali Harawi Persia, 16th-19th Century An album (muraqqa) of 38 pages of naskhi, nasta'liq, ta'liq and shikasteh calligraphy, with works signed by Visal Shirazi, Muhammad Kazim Valeh, and a découpe page attributed to Mir 'Ali Harawi Persia, 16th-19th Century An album (muraqqa) of 38 pages of naskhi, nasta'liq, ta'liq and shikasteh calligraphy, with works signed by Visal Shirazi, Muhammad Kazim Valeh, and a découpe page attributed to Mir 'Ali Harawi Persia, 16th-19th Century An album (muraqqa) of 38 pages of naskhi, nasta'liq, ta'liq and shikasteh calligraphy, with works signed by Visal Shirazi, Muhammad Kazim Valeh, and a découpe page attributed to Mir 'Ali Harawi Persia, 16th-19th Century Portfolio, Islamic Portfolio, Islamic
An album (muraqqa') of 38 pages of naskhi, nasta'liq, ta'liq and shikasteh calligraphy, with works signed by Visal Shirazi, Muhammad Kazim Valeh, and a découpé page attributed to Mir 'Ali Harawi
Persia, 16th-19th Century
Arabic and Persian manuscripts on coloured paper laid down on card, in concertina form, 38 album pages, illuminated in colours and gold, inner borders of coloured paper, waterstaining mostly restricted to outer margins, one silk-covered board with stamped central medallions decorated with floral sprays, waterstained, detached
287 x 187 mm.

Footnotes

  • The pages are as follows:

    1. A page in nasta'liq script signed by ['Imad?] al-Hasani, perhaps the famous Safavid calligrapher (d. 1615). See lot 14 in the present sale for a page by al-Hasani.
    2. A page with a quatrain in Persian in nasta'liq script signed by 'Ali al-Katib (scribe) in découpage work by Sangi 'Ali Badakhshi, first half of the 16th Century.

    The scribe 'Ali al-Katib must be Mir 'Ali Harawi (d. circa 1544), the celebrated royal calligrapher at the court of Sultan Husain Bayqara in Herat. Under the Safavids, he worked under the protection of Habibullah while Sam Mirza, brother of Shah Tahmasp, was the Governor of Khurasan. He was later moved to Bukhara, together with other calligraphers and artists, by the Shaybanid ruler 'Ubayd Khan after his capture of the city in 1528. His recorded works are dated between AH 914/AD 1508-09 and AH 951/AD 1544-45. See Mehdi Bayani, ahval va asar-e khosh-nevisan, vol. II, Teheran, 1346 sh., pp. 493-516. For another page which can possibly be attributed to Mir 'Ali Harawi, see lot 10 in the present sale.

    Sangi 'Ali Badakhshi is mentioned in Shams al-Din Muhammad Wasfi's preface to the Shah Isma'il II album in the Topkapi (K 2138), as a découpeur (qati') and listed under calligraphers of Shiraz and Kirman. (See Wheeler M. Thackston, Album Prefaces and other Documents on the History of Calligrahers and Painters, 2000, pp. 33-34).

    3. A page with a Persian quatrain in nasta'liq script by Muhammad Latif, dated AH 1050/AD 1640-41.

    The scribe may be identified with Muhammad Latif known as Shukhi Bukhari, who is reported as a poet and nasta'liq calligrapher whose only recorded work is a copy of the Kulliyyat of Khaqani in the Gulistan Palace Library, Teheran, dated twice, once as towards the end of Sha'ban 1015/December 1606-January 1607, and once as the middle of Rajab 1017/October-November 1608. See Mehdi Bayani, ahval va asar-e khosh-nevisan, vol. III, Tehran 1348, pp. 829-30.

    4. A page with three couplets in praise of a ruler in nasta'liq script, unsigned but dated AH 1095/AD 1683-84.
    5. A page with a Persian quatrain in nasta'liq script signed by Mir 'Ali, most probably Mir 'Ali al-Harawi (see above), first half of the 16th Century.
    6. A page with four lines in Persian in nasta'liq script, unsigned,16th Century.
    7. A page with three lines in naskhi script from a religious text, 19th Century.
    8. A page with five lines in naskhi script from the Qur'an, sura CIX, al-Kafirun, copied by Abu'l-Qasim, dated AH 1245/AD 1829-30.

    There are a few early 19th Century naskhi scribes with the name Abu'l-Qasim. The only one who might be the same as the above is Abu'l-Qasim Shirazi, son of 'Ali Riza, whose recorded works are dated between AH 1223/AD 1808-09 and AH 1243/AD 1827-28. See Mehdi Bayani, ahval va asar-e khosh-nevisan, vols. IV, Tehran 1358, p. 10.
    9. An album page with a passage in Persian prose in shikasteh script, 19th Century.
    10. A page with Persian prose in shikasteh copied by 'Ali Asghar al-Hamadani, who indicates that he copied this piece from 'Abd al-Majid Taliqani's hand by the request from [an un-named] high official in the year AH 1214/AD 1799-1800.

    'Ali Asghar Hamadani is only known through one recorded work: a Qur'an in which he wrote the interlinear Persian translations. The manuscript was copied in Isfahan between AH 1202/AD 1788-89 and AH 1208/AD 1794-95, with the patron's name erased, except his father's, Hasan Khan, who could be the father of Agha Muhammad Khan, the founder of the Qajar dynasty for whom the Qur'an may have been copied. (See Christie's, London, 10 October 2000, lot 20).
    11. Persian verses in shikasteh script, the name excised.
    12. A page with Persian poetry in couplets in shikasteh script copied for Haji Muhammad Husain Khan, the Biglar-Baygi (Governor) of Isfahan, by Muhammad Ja'far al-Isfahani in the capital Isfahan in rabi' al-akhir 1219/July-August 1804.

    The scribe Muhammad Ja'far is not recorded. The patron, Haji Muhammad Husain Khan was the Governor of Isfahan (d. 1823) under Agha Muhammad Khan and Fath 'Ali Shah until 1797 when he was taken to Teheran by Fath 'Ali Shah, titled Amin al-Dawla with the post of Mustawfi al-Mamalik in 1806, and later titled Nizam al-Dawla. He was appointed Minister in 1807, a post he held till 1234 when he was appointed Prime Minister (See M. Bamdad, Dictionary of National Biography of Iran, 1700-1900, vol. 3, Tehran, 1966, pp. 379-88).
    13. A calligraphic exercise relating to the joining of characters in two lines of nasta'liq script, unsigned.
    14. A calligraphic exercise relating to the joining of characters in two lines of nasta'liq script, unsigned.
    15, 16. Two pages (by the same scribe) in shikasteh script, one signed as Mirza Kuchak. He is likely to be Muhammad Shafi', known as Visal Shirazi, (1782-1846), who is considered to be one of the most famous calligraphers, scholars and poets of the 19th Century. He is praised by different biographers on his knowledge of music, singing, mathematics, painting, handicraft, occult sciences and grammar. He wrote all seven styles, and in different colour inks, and illuminated, and painted manuscripts himself. Visal trained many in shikasteh and nasta'liq, though his Nayrizi-style naskhi was particularly treasured. It is recorded that he copied 67 Qur'ans, 700 prayer books and divans of various poets. See Mehdi Bayani, ahval va asar-e khosh-nevisan, vols. III, Tehran 1348, pp. 755-62; IV, 1358 sh., pp. 165-67; and Bayani et al, The Decorated Word, part two, N. D. Khalili Collection of Islamic Art, London 2009, p. 72. For another page by Visal Shirazi, see lot 27 in the present sale.

    17, 18. Two pages, one of prayers and the second Arabic verses, in naskhi script, the first copied by 'Abd al-Ghaffar, the second dated AH 1218/AD 1803-4.

    From the colophons of his recorded works, dated between AH 1219/1804-05 and AH 1234/AD 1818-19, it appears that he was a naskhi scribe from Isfahan. This piece is his earliest recorded work. See Mehdi Bayani, ahval va asar-e khosh-nevisan, vol. IV, Tehran, 1358 sh., pp. 95-96.

    19. A practice sheet in shikasteh script, unsigned, 19th Century.
    20. A practice sheet in shikasteh script, unsigned, 19th Century.
    21. A page of shikasteh script.
    22. A page of shikasteh script.
    23, 24: two pages from the Qur'an, sura LV, al-Rahman, verses 25-32, and parts of verses 37-43, in naskhi script, Persia, possibly 18th Century.
    25, 26: two pages in shikasteh script by different scribes, one written for a certain Muhammad Husain Mirza, 19th Century.
    27, 28: two pages in shikasteh script, marbled borders, 19th Century.
    29. A page of Persian prose in nasta'liq copied by Muhammad Salih (unidentified), 17th-early 18th Century.
    30. A page in shikasteh script.
    31, 32. Two pages from the Qur'an, sura XCI, al-Shams; XCII, al-Layl, verses 1-part of 14, in naskhi script within cloudbands against a gold ground, with interlinear translation in Persian naskhi script in red, Persia, 17th-18th Century.
    33, 34. Two pages of shikasteh script.
    35, 36. Two pages in ta'liq or shikasteh ta'liq, copied by Muhammad Kazim Valeh, one dated AH 1225/AD 1810-11 and the other AH 1235[?]/1819-20.

    Muhammad Kazim Valeh (d. 1814) was a much respected poet, scholar and calligrapher of nasta'liq and ta'liq from Isfahan. He socialised with grandees including the British Ambassador Sir John Malcolm, who visited Valeh and mentioned him in his History of Persia. His recorded ta'liq works are dated between AH 1204/AD 1789-90 and AH 1225/AD 1810-11. See Mehdi Bayani, ahval va asar-e khosh-nevisan, vols. III, Tehran 1348, pp. 823-24; IV, 1358 sh., pp. 263-65; and M. Bamdad, Dictionary of National Biography of Iran, 1700-1900, vol. 5, Tehran, 1966, pp. 258-59.

    25-30. Six pages in shikasteh script by the same scribe, one with a colophon saying it was copied for a friend.

    There are traces of a few seal impressions on the reverse of several, some with the name Isma'il (oblong) and Abu Talib visible (oval).
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