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Calligraphy: A Page of Text from Sadi's Bustan (verso)

December 31, 1709
Art and Calligraphy
Shah Alam Bahadur Shah I 1707–1712

Calligraphy: A Page of Text from Sadi's Bustan (verso)



Calligraphy: A Page of Text from Sadi's Bustan (verso) c. 1710–20 Part of a set. See all set records India, Mughal, 18th century Ink on paper (verso) Page: 30.5 x 24.1 cm (12 x 9 1/2 in.) Gift in honor of Madeline Neves Clapp; Gift of Mrs. Henry White Cannon by exchange; Bequest of Louise T. Cooper; Leonard C. Hanna Jr. Fund; From the Catherine and Ralph Benkaim Collection 2013.335.b INSCRIPTION Verso: From a Bustan (Fragrant Herb Garden) of Sa‘di (Persian, 1210–1291). Persian text in nasta‘liq script: Why do the adherents of Idea to this not cleave—/ That only the Elect may go in water or in fire?/ As for the infant, uninformed of fire,/ Does not his mother guard him lovingly?/ Those, then, who’re drowned in ecstasy/ By night and day are in the very care of Truth:/ He guards the Friend against the fire’s heat/ As Moses’s crib against the whirlpools of the Nile;/ When an infant’s in a swimmer’s arms/ He knows no fear, broad though the Tigris be;/ But how shall you step on the ocean’s face/ As do real men, when even on dry land your skirt is wet?/ The way of the intellect is all twists and turns,/ But the concern of the gnostics is for God alone!/ This can be said to those who recognize realities,/ Though adherents of analogy may carp thereat and say:/ “What, then, is heaven, and what earth besides?/ Who are the sons of Adam, and the beasts both wild and tame?”/ A proper thing you’ve asked, O prudent one!/ I’ll tell you—if you find the answer proper:/ The plain and the ocean, the mountain and the sky,/ Pari and manchild, demon and angel—/ All, whatsoever they be, are less than That/ By virtue of Whose being they utter being’s name!/ Monstrous before you, with its waves, lies the ocean;/ High is the sun, all ablaze at the zenith; (after Wickens 1974, 113) PROVENANCE ?-1849 Sir Charles Forbes, 7th Baronet [1773-1849], Bengal, London, and Scotland, by descent to his great-grandson, Colonel Sir John Forbes ?-1962 Colonel Sir John Stewart Forbes [1901-1984], Baronet, DSO, DL, Allargue House, Strathdon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, UK, consigned to Sotheby's London for sale 10 December 1962 (Sotheby’s, London, Western and Oriental Manuscripts and Miniatures, 10 December 1962, lot 9, sold to Ralph Benkaim) 1962-2013 Ralph Benkaim [1914-2001] and Catherine Glynn Benkaim [b. 1946], Beverly Hills, CA, sold to the Cleveland Museum of Art 2013- The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH

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Ismail Mazari

average rating is null out of 5

Very good information.


The Mughal Images immediately took a much greater interest in realistic portraiture than was typical of Persian miniatures. Animals and plants were the main subject of many miniatures for albums and were more realistically depicted. To upload your images click here.

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