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Modern and Contemporary South Asian Art / Sadequain (Pakistani, 1937-1987) Untitled (Rubaiyat-e-Sadequain)

Lot 21
(Pakistani, 1937-1987)
Untitled (Rubaiyat-e-Sadequain)
24 May 2022, 13:00 BST
London, New Bond Street

£15,000 - £30,000

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Sadequain (Pakistani, 1937-1987)

Untitled (Rubaiyat-e-Sadequain)
signed 'Sadequain' and dated '19th April 1970' in Urdu lower right
oil on canvas
146.8 x 86cm (57 13/16 x 33 7/8in).


Private Collection, USA;
Acquired in the 1990s by the vendor's late husband from Hameed Haroon; the curator of the Sadequain: The Holy Sinner retrospective at Mohatta Palace in 2003.

A Ruba'i, or the plural, Ruba'iyat is the term used for a quatrain; a verse, poem or stanza consisting of four lines. It refers to a form of Persian poetry, and is written in a two-couplet form, with a rhyme-scheme that is either AAAA or AABA. Although the Ruba'iyat was popularised by Edward Fitzgerald's translation of Omar Khayyam's Ruba'iyat in the late 19th century, Sadequain was enraptured with it throughout his life.

''...My quatrains reflect my personal response to society and life...I was born and grew up with, the art of composing rubai was an expression of substantial cultural refinement. As children we were encouraged to memorise rubais drawn from elegies, or from hymns in praise of God or his Prophet...The composing and interpreting of rubaiyat became a cherished childhood pastime.''

[...] Between August 1969 and January 1970, a state of restlessness overcame me. I preceded without a pause, a rational thought, or even understanding, to compose rubaiyat continuously for the next five months. [...] I began to render the transcript of rubaiyat into delicate calligraphic flows (Sadequain, Prefare to the Bayaz-e-Sadequaini: Thoughts of a Wayward Poet' Sadequain: The Holy Sinner, Karachi, 2003, pp. 540-541.

Translation of the Rubaiyat
Tum dekho main naalay mai alf hon nangha

Sachai kay haalay main alf hon nangha

Khilwat kay lahfon main hawa war choth main

Partay howay palay main alf hon nangha

Matkay howay chathay hain angay hum logh
Malboos main hain rang barangay hum logh

Mehfil main hi poshaakh jo pehanthay to kya?

Poshaakh kay andar to hain nanghay hum logh

Mai bopa hon sitaam rang pay naazah yaaro

Main darpa hon sitaam sang pay naazah yaaro

Tum apnay libaday pay ho lekin mai to
Hon apnay faqat nangh pay naaz yaaro

Yeh kham nighaee ka urahatee hai mazaak

Haan zilley elahi ka urahti hai mazak yaaro

Yeh meri barhangi bhi Janay kya hai

Jo khillat-e- shahi ka urahati hai mazaak

Look at me in the stream of life, I am naked and serene.

In the hall of truth, I am naked and serene.

In the cover of darkness and middle of a storm,

Amidst the harshness of society, I am naked and serene.

Our worth is not more than that of clowns for them, we remain multicoloured clowns.

What if we dress up for parties?

But beneath our dresses, we are naked and serene.

I take pride in enduring my insanity.

I am proud to be naked and serene.

You boast at the hands of your wealth, but I am I am delighted to be naked and serene.

It mocks short-sightedness. Yes, it mocks his majesty.

You should know what my straightforwardness is about.

Which mocks the solitude of royalty.

In the present lot Sadequain has expertly combined Islam's highest forms of art into one work; painting, calligraphy and poetry, and elegantly exemplified his capabilities as a master of them all.

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