Arts of the Islamic World and India

Arts of the Islamic World and India

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 73. Jalal al-Din Muhammad Rumi (d.1273), Mathnawi, copied by Muhammad ibn Ibrahim al-Balyani, Persia, Timurid, dated Dhu'l-Qa'dah 891-2 AH/November 1486-87 AD.

Jalal al-Din Muhammad Rumi (d.1273), Mathnawi, copied by Muhammad ibn Ibrahim al-Balyani, Persia, Timurid, dated Dhu'l-Qa'dah 891-2 AH/November 1486-87 AD

Auction Closed

April 24, 03:45 PM GMT

Estimate

35,000 - 45,000 GBP

Lot Details

Description

Persian manuscript on paper, 386 leaves, plus 3 fly-leaves, 19 lines to the page written in nasta'liq in black ink arranged in 4 columns, headings in gold, blue and red, ruled in gold, blue and black, opening bifolio with 15 lines of gold naskh in clouds reserved against a hatched ground framed by gold and polychrome illumination, the following bifolio with double-page illuminated frontispiece, 6 illuminated headpieces throughout the text, the first and second books each followed by a colophon, in Ottoman 18th century floral lacquer binding, red lacquer doublures

28 by 17.6cm.

Jalal al-Din Muhammad Rumi was a Persian poet, jurist, Islamic scholar and Sufi mystic. Rumi was born either in the village of Waksh in the greater Balkh region in present-day Tajikistan or the city of Balkh located in present-day Afghanistan. Greater Balkh was at the time a major centre of Persian culture and Sufism, and he was influenced by the Persian poets ‘Attar (see lot 71 in the present sale) and Sanai. He wrote his major work, Mathnawi Ma’navi in six volumes containing twenty-seven thousand lines of mystical poetry, in Konya where he is buried.


This finely illuminated Timurid copy of the text was written by Muhammad ibn Ibrahim al-Balyani whose signature is given at the end of book two of the text. Further Timurid copies of Rumi’s Mathnawi include two manuscripts sold in these rooms, 19 October 2016, lot 118 and 6 April 2011, lot 220, and another sold at Christie’s, London, 31 March 2009, lot 22.

The lotus palmettes and saz leaves decorating the Ottoman lacquer binding display a continuation of motifs from the sixteenth century as shown in drawings by Shah Quli. These motifs were favoured by eighteenth century lacquer artists such as ‘Ali Uskudari who is responsible for beautifully drawn bindings in the Topkapi Palace Library (inv. no.5650) and the Freer Gallery of Art (acc.no.S1986.23). This binding is unsigned, however, the artist is clearly following the tradition of ‘Ali Uskudari through the large palmettes set within swirling leaves. For further examples and discussion on Ottoman lacquer bookbindings, see Khalili, Robinson and Stanley 1996, pp.232-9.