Muhammad Husayn (born circa 1242/1826-7, died 25 dhu'l-hajjah 1330/6 December 1912) was given the title 'Mushin Qalam' (Musk-scented pen) by Nasir al-Din Shah and appointed as a tutor to the Crown Prince Muzaffar Mirza in Tabriz. Shortly afterwards he came across the Baha'i faith and travelled to the Ottoman territories to meet the leaders of this faith. He converted to Baha'ism and settled in Constantinople. Along with other members of the faith he was sent to exile several times in different parts of the Ottoman Empire between 1886 and 1877. He later went to Akka and joined Baha'ullah, where he spent his time copying various of Baha'ullah's texts, which were printed in Bombay in 1892. Later, he was instructed to go to India to promote Baha'ullah's writings, but he returned to Palestine after he was taken ill. He died in Akka in 1912.
He is the first Baha'i to have used his arts of calligraphy and painting to express his devotion to the faith, particularly the image of a bird announcing the dawn of the new faith, as is the case with the present lot.
He wrote in all styles, and examples of his work in nasta'liq, tughra, thuluth, ta'liq, shikasteh and various decorative types are in several museums worldwide including the Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University (no.1958.197, see London 1976, no. 641) and the Gulistan Palace Library (see Bayani 1348, p.694-5)
For further references see Mishkin Qalam, XIX century Artist and Calligrapher, 1826-1912, published by Persian Letters and Arts Society, Landegg Academy, Switzerland, 1992.
An identical composition by the same scribe was exhibited in 1988 in Geneva in the exhibition Islamic Calligraphy, see Geneva 1988, no.49, pp.158-9.
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