Jami, Yusuf va Zulaykha, written on gold-sprinkled paper, the outer borders of 170 pages exquisitely decorated with stencilled images of animals and birds in their natural habitat, a ghul about to throw a boulder at a lion, arabesques and floral, vegetal and geometric motifs in different colours MANIJEH Bokhara or Khorasan, second half of the 16th Century
Lot 11
Jami, Yusuf va Zulaykha, written on gold-sprinkled paper, the outer borders of 170 pages exquisitely decorated with stencilled images of animals and birds in their natural habitat, a ghul about to throw a boulder at a lion, arabesques and floral, vegetal and geometric motifs in different colours Bokhara or Khorasan, second half of the 16th Century
£15,000 - 20,000
US$ 24,000 - 33,000

Lot Details
Jami, Yusuf va Zulaykha, written on gold-sprinkled paper, the outer borders of 170 pages exquisitely decorated with stencilled images of animals and birds in their natural habitat, a ghul about to throw a boulder at a lion, arabesques and floral, vegetal and geometric motifs in different colours MANIJEH Bokhara or Khorasan, second half of the 16th Century Jami, Yusuf va Zulaykha, written on gold-sprinkled paper, the outer borders of 170 pages exquisitely decorated with stencilled images of animals and birds in their natural habitat, a ghul about to throw a boulder at a lion, arabesques and floral, vegetal and geometric motifs in different colours MANIJEH Bokhara or Khorasan, second half of the 16th Century Jami, Yusuf va Zulaykha, written on gold-sprinkled paper, the outer borders of 170 pages exquisitely decorated with stencilled images of animals and birds in their natural habitat, a ghul about to throw a boulder at a lion, arabesques and floral, vegetal and geometric motifs in different colours MANIJEH Bokhara or Khorasan, second half of the 16th Century Jami, Yusuf va Zulaykha, written on gold-sprinkled paper, the outer borders of 170 pages exquisitely decorated with stencilled images of animals and birds in their natural habitat, a ghul about to throw a boulder at a lion, arabesques and floral, vegetal and geometric motifs in different colours MANIJEH Bokhara or Khorasan, second half of the 16th Century Jami, Yusuf va Zulaykha, written on gold-sprinkled paper, the outer borders of 170 pages exquisitely decorated with stencilled images of animals and birds in their natural habitat, a ghul about to throw a boulder at a lion, arabesques and floral, vegetal and geometric motifs in different colours MANIJEH Bokhara or Khorasan, second half of the 16th Century Jami, Yusuf va Zulaykha, written on gold-sprinkled paper, the outer borders of 170 pages exquisitely decorated with stencilled images of animals and birds in their natural habitat, a ghul about to throw a boulder at a lion, arabesques and floral, vegetal and geometric motifs in different colours MANIJEH Bokhara or Khorasan, second half of the 16th Century Jami, Yusuf va Zulaykha, written on gold-sprinkled paper, the outer borders of 170 pages exquisitely decorated with stencilled images of animals and birds in their natural habitat, a ghul about to throw a boulder at a lion, arabesques and floral, vegetal and geometric motifs in different colours MANIJEH Bokhara or Khorasan, second half of the 16th Century
Jami, Yusuf va Zulaykha, written on gold-sprinkled paper, the outer borders of 170 pages exquisitely decorated with stencilled images of animals and birds in their natural habitat, a ghul about to throw a boulder at a lion, arabesques and floral, vegetal and geometric motifs in different colours
Bokhara or Khorasan, second half of the 16th Century
Persian manuscript on gold-sprinkled paper, 174 leaves, missing 4 folios, 31 replacement folios with painted decoration copying the original stencilled decoration, 12 lines to the page written in two columns of elegant nasta'liq script in black ink, double intercolumnar rules in gold, inner margins ruled in colours and gold, titles written in nasta'liq script in white within gold rectangular panels, one illuminated headpiece in colours and gold, folio 1a with Persian inscriptions and seal impressions, replacement folios of brown paper with painted outer borders copying the original stencilled decoration, some worming, inner margins crudely repaired, folio 1b-2a with an outdoor scene which has been totally repainted at a later date, Persian inscriptions above and below the miniatures state that they are the work of Muhammadi (a reference to the artist of the original miniatures), late 18th/19th Century Indian brown leather binding, covers of stamped gilt paper onlay decorated with arabesques, floral and vegetal motifs, some damage with loss of a small section of the gilt paper, doublures of red leather decorated with central medallions and cornerpieces of gilt paper onlay, marbled paper flyleaves, gilt edges
262 x 167 mm.

Footnotes

  • The notes and seal impressions on folio 1a are Indian. One note (the shorter one with a larger seal impression) says that the manuscript was viewed on 17th Ramadan 1206/9th May 1792, with the seal impression of Maharaja Nakit [?] Ray, dated AH 1203/AD 1788-89.
    The other note says that the manuscript was purchased from the dealer of draughts [?] (baratcha) in the private shop in the bazaar, on Sunday 4th dhi'l-hajja 1228/28th November 1813.
    The fact that these two notes have hijra dates and not regnal means that the manuscript could belong to any of the Hindu principalities in India.

    The author:

    Nur-ad-Din Abdul-Rahman Jami was born in Kharjird in the province of Jam in AH 817/AD 1414 and died in Herat, where he spent most of his life, in AH 898/AD 1492. Jami is considered the last of the great classical and mystical poets of Persia. Along with Mir Ali-Sher Nava'i he composed most of his work at Herat, the Timurid capital of Sultan Husain Mirza (reigned 1470-1506). Jami was greatly admired by the Sultan and was rewarded with political and economic favours. He maintained the favour of the Sultan by flattering him in his works. According to Marianna Shreve Simpson, 'the extended panegyric to Sultan Husayn Mirza in a prelude to Yusuf va Zulaykha, with its flattering evocation of the Sultan's beauty, character, generosity and justice, typify these dedications.' Simpson stresses his role as a pir (master) of the Naqshbandi order of Sufi Islam which he joined at a young age. On his death in 1492, Jami was mourned by Sultan Husain Mirza as a son, and Mir Ali Sher helped wash the body and composed an elegy in praise of his departed friend.

    Simpson adds that 'Jami composed Yusuf va Zulaykha in a single year, AH 889/AD 1484-85, which he gives as a chronogram at the end of the text. The beginning mentions that Jami entered the mystical state of sama' (the ritual Sufi dance) during the poem's composition. The masnavi is generally considered to have been written in honour of Sultan Husain Mirza, whom Jami praises in the prologue along with his pir, Khwaja Ubaydullah Ahrar.' (See Simpson, M. S., Sultan Ibrahim Mirza's Haft Awrang: a Princely Manuscript from Sixteenth-Century Iran, New Haven and London 1997.)

    The text:

    According to Marianna Shreve Simpson, Yusuf va Zulaykha is universally regarded as the masterpiece of Jami's Haft Awrang:
    'It is also the most popular of many Persian adaptations of this classic story, whose protagonists are better known outside the Near East as Joseph and Potiphar's wife. It is also the most frequently illustrated of Jami's seven masnavi's. The Islamic tradition to which Yusuf va Zulaykha belongs starts with the Koran in which an entire sura is devoted to the Judaeo-Christian prophet and the trials he endured, first at the hands of his brothers, and then because of the propositions of his master's wife. Later commentators greatly amplified the Qur'anic account, giving Yusuf's temptress a name and idealising the prophet as a symbol of monotheism. Subsequent literature transformed Yusuf into a "triple paragon of purity, of prophetic inspiration and, above all, of physical beauty". Jami further embellished this characterisation in his epic-length poem, making Yusuf a revelation of divine beauty, and the relations between Yusuf and Zulaykha an allegory of the mystic's search for truth and union with God.' For further reading, Simpson, M. S., Sultan Ibrahim Mirza's Haft Awrang, New Haven and London 1997.

    The art of stencilling in Persian manuscripts:

    The art of illuminated and stencilled borders flourished in Ottoman Turkey, Safavid Persia and Mughal India and reached the height of fashion in the 16th Century. Such borders depicted floral, vegetal and geometric motifs, animals and exotic birds in their natural habitats, figures standing in gardens, hunting scenes, and creatures such as divs and mythical animals in rocky landscapes. The lavishness of such borders reflected the wealth of the patrons who commissioned such manuscripts, which were often executed by court artists who specialized in this field. In Ottoman manuscripts the style of stencilled border design was known as 'silhouette paper', and differed from the stencilled designs found in the borders of manuscripts produced in Bokhara and Khorasan. It is known that Bokhara manuscripts with stencilled borders were taken to India starting in the mid-16th Century and that Bokhara artists were working in India for Mughal patrons.

    A 16th-Century Persian manuscript entitled Tuhfat al-Muluk, copied by the scribe Sultan Muhammad Khandan, has borders profusely decorated with painted designs on stencilled paper depicting fantastic animals and foliage, and these are identical to the borders illustrating the div hurling a rock in the present lot. See Sotheby's, Important Oriental Manuscripts and Miniatures: the Property of the Hagop Kevorkian Fund, 23rd April 1979, lot 165 (illustrated). The manuscript was formerly in the collection of Sir Bernard Eckstein, sold at Sotheby's, 7th February 1949, lot 4.
Auction information

This auction is now finished. If you are interested in consigning in future auctions, please contact the specialist department. If you have queries about lots purchased in this auction, please contact customer services.

Buyers' Obligations

ALL BIDDERS MUST AGREE THAT THEY HAVE READ AND UNDERSTOOD BONHAMS' CONDITIONS OF SALE AND AGREE TO BE BOUND BY THEM, AND AGREE TO PAY THE BUYER'S PREMIUM AND ANY OTHER CHARGES MENTIONED IN THE NOTICE TO BIDDERS. THIS AFFECTS THE BIDDERS LEGAL RIGHTS.

If you have any complaints or questions about the Conditions of Sale, please contact your nearest customer services team.

Buyers' Premium and Charges

For all Sales categories excluding Wine, Coins & Medals and Motor Cars and Motorcycles:

Buyer's Premium Rates
25% on the first £50,000 of the Hammer Price
20% from £50,001 to £1,000,000 the Hammer Price
12% from £1,000,001 of the Hammer Price

VAT at the current rate of 20% will be added to the Buyer's Premium and charges excluding Artists Resale Right.

Payment Notices

Payment in advance: by cash, check with banker's card, credit card, bank draft or traveler's cheque.

Payment at collection: by credit or debit card.

Credit card charges: a surcharge of 2% is applicable when using Mastercard, Visa and overseas debit cards.

Shipping Notices

For information and estimates on domestic and international shipping as well as export licenses please contact Bonhams Shipping Department.

Lot symbols
Exempt from tax

Zero rated for VAT, no VAT will be added to the Hammer Price or the Buyer's Premium.

Contacts
  1. Oliver White
    Auction Administration - Islamic and Indian Art
    Bonhams
    Work
    101 New Bond Street
    London, United Kingdom W1S 1SR
    Work +44 20 7468 8303
    FaxFax: +44 20 7468 8283
Similar Items