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The poet Sa'di converses by night with a young friend in a garden

December 31, 1446
Mirza Firuz Shah
Ulugh Beg 1447–1449




In his introduction Sa'di describes how a friend persuaded him to go out to a garden on 21 April 1258. There the friend gathered up flowers to take back to town. Sa'di remarked on how quickly the flowers would die, and proposed a flower garden that would last much longer: Of what use will be a dish of flowers to thee? Take a leaf from my flower-garden. A flower endures but five or six days But this flower-garden is always delightful. There follow the words illustrated in the Persian miniature, believed to be by the Mughal painter Govardhan, shown at the top of the article: حالی که من این حکایت بگفتم دامن گل بریخت و در دامنم آویخت که الکریم اذا وعدَ وفا‎ hāl-ī ke man īn hekāyat begoftam, dāman-e gol berīxt o dar dāman-am āvixt, ke al-karimu eza va'ada vafā When I said this, he poured out the skirt of flowers and hung on my skirt, saying 'The generous man, if he promises, keeps his word!' Sa'di continues, "On the same day I happened to write two chapters, namely on polite society and the rules of conversation, in a style acceptable to orators and instructive to letter-writers.". In finishing the book, Sa'di writes that, though his speech is entertaining and amusing, "it is not hidden from the enlightened minds of sahibdils (possessors of heart), who are primarily addressed here, that pearls of healing counsel have been drawn onto strings of expression, and the bitter medicine of advice has been mixed with the honey of wit". Structure After the introduction, the Golestan is divided into eight chapters, each consisting of a number of stories, decorated with short poems: 1. The Manners of Kings 2. On the Morals of Dervishes 3. On the Excellence of Contentment 4. On the Advantages of Silence 5. On Love and Youth 6. On Weakness and Old Age 7. On the Effects of Education 8. On Rules for Conduct in Life Altogether the work contains some 595 short poems in Persian, consisting on average of just under two couplets each, in a variety of metres; there are also occasional verses in Arabic. Some stories are very brief. The short poems which decorate the stories sometimes represent the words of the protagonists, sometimes the author's perspective and sometimes, as in the following case, are not clearly attributed.


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Ismail Mazari

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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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