Arts of the Book: Manuscripts, Folios, Bindings
A Panel Of Calligraphy
Safavid, 16th-17th century CE
Materials and technique
Opaque watercolour, gold and ink on cardboard
15.5 x 36 cm
This oblong-shaped, lobed cartouche frames a panel of calligraphy executed in gold nasta'liq against a gold foliated background of cobalt blue. The border is painted in pink and filled with green and blue dots. The inscription on the panel names the celebrated panj-e tan, or “band of five,” which included the Prophet Muhammad, his first cousin and son-in-law 'Ali ibn Abi Talib, his daughter Fatima ('Ali’s wife), and his two grandsons (the children of 'Ali and Fatima), Hasan and Husayn. The text is the second half of an Arabic couplet, the complete version of which appears in an angular kufic script at the Madrasa Chahar Bagh Mosque (Madrasa Madarshah) in Isfahan (Ghouchani 1985, p.157, pl. 143): "I have five [persons] whom by them I will smother the heat of burned hell, (they are) al-Mustafa (the prophet) and al-Murtada ('Ali) and their two sons (Hasan and Husayn) and Fatima."
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