Nasta'liq calligraphy as patronized by Akbar, c.1580

(downloaded Sept 2003)

"A LEAF FROM THE TUTINAMA. Mughal India, circa 1580. Gouache heightened with gold on paper, a young prince consults with an old lady, lines of black nasta'liq above and on the verso, remargined. Text area 6¼ x 3½in. (15.5 x 8.7cm.); miniature 3 7/8 x 3 3/8in. (9.8 x 8.8cm.)

Lot Notes: The Tutinama is an amusing series of stories woven around a merchant, Maimun, who leaves his wife, Khojasta, in the care of a parrot and a myna. The wife kills the myna for advisng her not to take a lover while her huband is away; the parrot, to save its skin and preserve her fidelity, proceeds to tell her a series of stories over the next fifty-two nights.

The first Akbari copy of this text survives virtually complete in the Cleveland Museum of Art, while the second, from which this folio comes, has been dispersed and is in various collections. The bulk of the manuscript, some 143 folios and 102 miniatures, are in the Chester Beatty Library, Dublin (Leach, L.: Mughal and other Indian Paintings from the Chester Beatty Library, Dublin, London, 1995, vol.I, pp. 21-74). Other folios are in The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Keir Collection, The Victoria and Albert Museum, London, the National Museum, New Delhi, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art."