Poetry Collection Persian c 1760 (1)

Catalog Number 22610
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This leaf is from an anthology or collection of poems by Sa'di, Amir Khusrao, Jami and others. Circa 1760, it is written on paper, in a fine hand, black nasta'liq script with occasional phrases in blue. Written diagonally, ten lines within two columns, the text throughout is encased in double gold lines with a few leaves with exquisite blue and gold floral headings. The fragment also contains illuminated titles in polychrome colors of blue gold and red with a final folio of perching birds amongst flower sprays. Verso: ten lines within two columns written diagonally. Condition of this leaf is just under fine [F-] due to minor smudging.

Shaikh Sa'di Shirazi, originally named Muslih-uddin, was born about 1194 in Shiraz and studied at the Nizamiyya University, the seat of learning in Baghdad. He remained there for about 30 years, establishing his fame as a great Persian poet and popular writer. He took the name Sa'di in honor of his patron Sa'd b. Zengi. Between 1226 and 1256 he traveled widely, visiting Europe, Ethiopia, Egypt, Syria, Palestine, Armenia, Turkey, Arabia, Iran, and beyond the Indus to Hindustan. Sa'di had one son, whose early death caused him great grief and led to a pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina.

Sa'di spent some years at Damascus where he became known as an excellent pulpit orator. He then became a recluse wandering in the desert near Jerusalem until he was captured by Frankish soldiers and condemned to forced labor in the trenches of the fortress of Tripoli. He finally returned to Shiraz in his seventies. He remained there until the end of his life in 1292, studying Sufic wisdom and writing poetry. His travels and observations of the characters of the people he met, backed by his extensive learning, led him to compose two masterpieces-The Bustan (or The Fruit Garden) and theThe Gulistan (or The Rose Garden). The second is a prose work interspersed with verses that touches on practical wisdom and moral questions in an easy and entertaining style. Much of it is autobiographical.

Amir Khusrau Dehlavi (1253-1325 AD), a prolific Persian poet associated with royal courts of more than seven rulers of Delhi Sultanate, is also a household name in much of North India and Pakistan, through the playful Hindi riddles, couplets and legends attributed to him.

Moulana Noor-od-Din (Nuruddin) Abdorrahman Jami the son of Moulana Nezam-od-Din (Nizamuddin) Ahmad was born in Jam, a small town of Khorasan in 1414 AD (A.H. 817). Jam is now the Ghor province of Afghanistan. He died in Herat on the 13th of Moharram in 1492 AD (A.H. 898). His poetic name is Jami, the word Jam means "wine goblet" in Farsi and Nuruddin means "Light of Faith." His genius made the literary men of his time uncomfortable because no man is great unless he appears humble.
In 1472 AD (A.H. 877), Jami started his pilgrimage to Mecca as every Moslem who can afford to is expected once in his life to do. Jami was a Sunni Moslem but it is documented that he respected Saint Ali and spoke fairly of the 'House of Saint Ali' several times. Jami wrote a poem in honor of saint Ali in Najaf and a poem in honor of Imam Hossein (the martyred son of Saint Ali) in Kerbala. One of the praiseworthy characteristics of Jami is that he had conviction in what he said and wrote. Jami said, "There are many seekers but mostly seekers of personal improvement. There are very few real seekers after real truth." Jami was well known for his playful sense of humor. Jami paid special attention to Saadi and Hafez in poetry and followed Nezami (Nizami) in his masnavi.

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