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Manuscript/Mixed Material Colophon of Nizami's "Sharafnamah"; title page of Nizami's "Iqbalnamah"

About this Item


  • Colophon of Nizami's "Sharafnamah"; title page of Nizami's "Iqbalnamah"

Created / Published

  • 1550-1600


  • -  Calligraphy, Arabic
  • -  Calligraphy, Persian
  • -  Manuscripts, Persian--Washington (D.C.)
  • -  Iran
  • -  Arabic script calligraphy
  • -  Illuminated Islamic manuscripts
  • -  Islamic calligraphy
  • -  Islamic manuscripts
  • -  Nasta'liq


  • -  Colophon of Nizami's "Sharafnamah" title page of Nizami's "Iqbalnamah"from the Khamsah, Shirazi style Safavid Persian illuminated manuscript in Nasta'liq script.
  • -  Dimensions of Written Surface: Recto: 12.2 (w) x 14 (h) cm. Dimensions of Written Surface: Verso: 12 (w) x 21 (h) cm.
  • -  Nine other folios from the same manuscript --mostly initial and terminal folios of the various books (kitab) from the "Khamsah", as well as one painting from the story of Laylah wa Majnun -- are held in the Library of Congress as well. These bear the same nasta'liq script at 20 lines in 4 columns/page within a similar written surface size of ca. 12 (w) x 21 (h) cm. The folios are: 1-85-154.1a R & V, 1-85-154.1b V, 1-85-154.2a R &V, 1-85-154.2b R & V, and 1-86-154.123 R (painting) & V.
  • -  Nizami's "Iskandarnamah" recounts Alexander the Great's (d. 323 B.C.) heroic exploits, battles, and journey to China, Gog and Magog, at the end of the world. It is loosely based on the epic narrative of Alexander's deeds as recounted by Firdawsi in his "Shahnamah" (The Book of Kings), which may have drawn from the history of Alexander as penned down by his official biographer Callisthenes of Olynthus (c. 370-327 B.C.). Nizami's "Iskandarnamah" has been translated into English by M. S. Southgate, "Iskandarnamah: A Persian Medieval Alexander-Romance" (New York, 1978).
  • -  The final lines of the "Sharafnamah" on the recto of this folio are executed in a carpet-page format, i.e. in alternating horizontal and diagonal lines with illuminated decoration in the remnant triangular or rectangular spaces. At the very bottom of the folio appears the work's colophon in the shape of a triangle, which states that the book "Sharafnamah-yi Iskandari" of Nizami has been completed thanks to the grace of God. Unfortunately, the colophon gives neither the date of the book's completion nor the name of the calligrapher.
  • -  The text's layout and nasta'liq script are typical of manuscripts made in the city of Shiraz during the second half of the sixteenth century. Many Safavid Persian manuscripts at this time were produced for the domestic market and international export, rather than by royal commission.
  • -  This folio contains the last lines and colophon of the "Sharafnamah" (The Book of Honor), the first section of the fifth book (kitab) of Nizami's "Khamsah" entitled "Iskandarnamah" (The Book of Alexander). On the folio's verso appears the beginning of the second section of the "Iskandarnamah" called "Iqbalnamah" (The Book of Progress), arranged in an illuminated title page (see 1-84-154.1b V). The illuminated title page here includes the book's heading written in white ink, which reads: "Kitab Iqbalnamah-yi Shaykh Nizami, 'alayhi al-rahmah wa-al-maghfarah" (The Book of Progress of Nizami, mercy and forgiveness upon him). The title appears on a blue background decorated with concentric vines of red and yellow flowers. All around the title panel and the written surface appear bands of illuminated decoration on either a gold or blue background. Written during the last few decades of the 12th century A.D., the "Khamsah" consists of five books (kitab) written in rhyming distichs (mathnavi).
  • -  Script: nasta'liq
  • -  1-84-154.1b


  • 1 volume ; 22.9 (w) x 34.5 (h) cm


  • Library of Congress African and Middle Eastern Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA

Digital Id

Library of Congress Control Number

  • 2019714496

Online Format

  • pdf
  • image

Additional Metadata Formats

IIIF Presentation Manifest

Rights & Access

The contents of the Library of Congress Selections of Arabic, Persian, and Ottoman Calligraphy are in the public domain or have no known copyright restrictions and are free to use and reuse.

Credit Line: Library of Congress, African and Middle East Division, Near East Section Persian Manuscript Collection

Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

Colophon of Nizami's "Sharafnamah"; title page of Nizami's "Iqbalnamah". to 1600, 1550. Manuscript/Mixed Material.

APA citation style:

(1550) Colophon of Nizami's "Sharafnamah"; title page of Nizami's "Iqbalnamah". to 1600. [Manuscript/Mixed Material] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Colophon of Nizami's "Sharafnamah"; title page of Nizami's "Iqbalnamah". to 1600, 1550. Manuscript/Mixed Material. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.