Arts of the Book: Illustrated Texts, Miniatures
Manuscript Of The Guy U Chawgan Or Halnama (book Of Ecstasy) Of 'Arifi
Safavid, circa 1580 CE
Materials and technique
Ink, opaque watercolour, and gold on paper
21.3 x 13.1 cm
This mystical poem by 'Arifi (d. circa 1449 CE) uses the concept of the polo ball and mallet as a metaphor for yearning for and being spurned by the beloved. In the painting a dervish on the edge of a rocky horizon observes a princely polo player who is accompanied by an attendant carrying a mallet. The illustration is stylistically close to the work of 'Ali Asghar who worked in Qazvin in the 1570s and 1580s and joined the kitabkhana of Shah 'Abbas I upon his accession in 1587 CE. 'Ali Asghar illustrated two manuscripts of Guy u Chawgan and one of Shah u Darvish of Hilali that all include polo-playing scenes (Robinson 1988, p. 126). The jutting rocks, sharply bent elbows and treatment of the hair of the dervish recall these equally small-scale works by 'Ali Asghar.
© 2007 The Aga Khan Development Network. This is the only authorised Website of the Aga Khan Development Network.