“Munajat” by Abdallah Ansari

This calligraphic fragment includes a passage from the Munajat (Prayers) of the Persian mystic and scholar Ḥājī ‘Abdallāh Ansārī (died 1088). The two lines describe the fruits of prayer and generosity. The lines of text are executed in black nasta’liq script on beige paper and framed by delicate cloud bands on a gold illuminated background. The text panel is framed by a variety of borders and pasted to a sheet of purple paper decorated with gold interlacing floral motifs. Between and below the two main lines of text is an inscription reading: “God, all fear You, but Abdallah fears himself, for all good things come from You, and all evil things come from Abdallah (i.e., ‘the servant of God’).” In this brief sentence the author praises God’s generosity and goodness. Immediately following his praise of God is the calligrapher’s signature: “mashq-i Malik” (Malik’s composition). Malik may be identified as the calligrapher Malik Daylami, who was in the service of the Safavid ruler Shah Tahmasp, who reigned from 1524 to 1576.

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