Lot 133
  • 133

Mahmud ibn Muhammad ‘Arifi Haravi (d. circa 1449), Guy va Chawgan (also known as Hal-nameh), signed by Shah Mahmud al-Nishapuri, Persia, Safavid, circa 1540-50

15,000 - 25,000 GBP
56,250 GBP
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  • ink on paper with leather binding
Persian mansucript on paper, 25 leaves plus 4 flyleaves, 10 lines to the page, written in fine nasta'liq script in black ink on a gold-sprinkled text block within 2 columns, illuminated title headings left blank, margins ruled in colours and gold, catchwords, at least 2 folios missing, double page frontispiece finely illuminated in colours and gold, text within cloud bands against a hatched ground, following double page with finely illuminated outer margins filled with birds amid an interlace of large leafy vegetation and chinoiserie cloud bands, 6 further double pages with fully illuminated margins composed of fantastical animals amid foliage in gouache heightened with gold, other pages with similar scenes executed only in gold, f.1a with an illuminated shamsa filled with scrolling polychrome split-palmettes, later brown morocco binding with gilt-stamped medallions and border decoration 

Catalogue Note

Shah Mahmud al-Nishapuri (d.1564) 

Shah Mahmud (also known as Zarrin Qalam, 'Golden Pen') is thought to have been Shah Isma'il's (d.1524) favourite calligrapher. He was born in the city of Nishapur, Iran, and studied calligraphy under the supervision of Abdi al-Katib Nishapuri. He specialised in the style of nasta'liq with the famous nasta'liq master Sultan Ali al-Mashhadi (d.1519). Shah Isma'il adored him so much that on his campaign over Ottoman Sultan Selim I, he locked up Shah Mahmud and painter Behzad, fearing that they could be kidnapped by the Ottomans. On his return, the first thing he did was visit Shah Mahmud (see S. Rado, Turk Hattatlari, Istanbul, 1980, p.67). The famous Khamsa, produced for Shah Tahmasp (d.1576), illuminated by the famous court painter Behzad, was copied by Shah Mahmud.

Celebrated as one of the greatest masters of nasta'liq script, Shah Mahmud's works have been collected by royal bibliophiles across the Muslim world. It has been noted that particularly members of the Ottoman elite adored him. A magnificent Qur'an manuscript by him, transcribed in nasta'liq, can be found in the Topkapi Palace. See also Serin, Muhittin, Hat Sanatı ve Meshur Hattatlar, Kubbealti, Istanbul, 1999.    

See also p.9 of this catalogue for detail of the illumination.