A manuscript about hadiths, in nasta'liq, 1559

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(downloaded Apr. 2004)

"ARBA'UN HADITHAN, COPIED BY SHAH MAHMUD NISHAPURI, SAFAVID IRAN, LAST DAYS OF JUMADA I AH 966/LATE FEBRUARY 1559 AD. Arabic and Persian manuscript on gold-sprinkled cream paper, 9ff. with 9ll. of black nasta'liq, the Arabic text written in a larger script alternating with the Persian translation in smaller script, copious illumination added at a later date, final folio with colophon signed by the calligrapher Shah Mahmud Nishapuri and dated last days of Jumada I 966, margined with gold-sprinkled pink paper, old repairs to edges of folios, final folio with small drawing of the head of a man signed Muhammad 'Ali and dated 1160, brown morocco binding with gold tooled medallions made up from Mamluk boards. Folio 20.7 x 13cm.; text area 13 x 7cm.

Lot Notes: This is the Forty Hadith of the Prophet, translated into Persian quatrains (ruba'i) by Nur al-Din 'Abd al-Rahman Jami in 886/1481. This was a popular work for copying by Persian calligraphers, as it enabled them to show off their mastery of both large and small nasta'liq.

Shah Mahmud Nishapuri, known as zarin qalam (Golden pen) was a calligrapher at the library of Shah Tahmasp in Tabriz. After the King became increasingly religious, Shah Mahmud moved to Mashhad where he spent the rest of his life. His recorded work is dated between 923-982/1517-75.

Bayani, M.: ahval va asar-e khosh-nevisan, vol.I, Tehran, 1345 sh, pp.295-304, vol.II, 1346, pp. 305-7.
Minorsky, V.: Calligraphers and Painters, 1959, pp. 134-7."