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About this Item


  • Safinah fragment


  • Imad al-Hasani al-Katib

Created / Published

  • early 17th century


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


  • -  Opening page of an iluminated album in a longitudinal shape (safinah), by calligrapher 'Imad al-Hasani al-Katib from Safavid era Persia.
  • -  Around the vertical border of the text panel, the calligrapher (Mir) 'Imad al-Hasani al-Katib ("the writer") has signed his work along with a request for God's forgiveness. Mir 'Imad (d. 1615) was born in 1552, spent time in Herat and Qazvin, and finally settled in Isfahan (then capital of Safavid Persia), where, as a result of his implication in court intrigues, he was murdered in 1615. He was a master of nasta'liq script, whose works were admired, copied, and collected (Welch et al 1987: 32-36).
  • -  Dimensions of Written Surface: 5.5 (w) x 10.1 (h) cm
  • -  Many works in international collections are signed by him (inter alia, Safwat 1996, cat. nos. 53 and 62; and Lowry and Beach 1988: no. 456), although whether all these pieces are by his hand remains uncertain. Other calligraphies bearing his name in the collections of the Library of Congress include: 1-84-154.3, 1-84-154.43, 1-85-154.72, 1-87-154.160, 1-90-154.162, and 1-99-106.13 R.
  • -  Praise be to the Creator, whose description is of Greatness, / Who dropped on the dust of inability the wisdom of the Prophets. / If for one hundred thousand years, all created beings / Thought about the depiction of God's glory, / Finally they would admit (their) incapacity / To know God, as we (still) will never know.
  • -  Subhan khaliqi ka sifatash za kabriya' / Bar khak-i 'ajz mifakanad 'aql-i anbiya' / Gar sad hazar sal hama khalq-i kaniyat / Fikrat kunand dar sifat-i 'izzat-i khuda / Akhir bi-'ajz mu'tarif ayand kay alah / Danasta shud ka hich nadanasta-im ma
  • -  The text is written in black nasta'liq on beige paper. It includes three bayts (verses) praising God and describing humans' inability to comprehend His power:
  • -  This calligraphic fragment forms the first page of an album in a longitudinal shape (safinah). At the top appear a fine illuminated panel and finial (sarloh) with gold and blue flower and vine motifs. In the upper and lower corners, two gold and blue illuminated triangles (or thumb pieces) fill in the remaining spaces between the rectangular frame and the diagonal lines of text.
  • -  Script: nasta'liq
  • -  1-85-154.77


  • 1 volume ; 7.3 (w) x 18.6 (h) cm


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

Digital Id

Library of Congress Control Number

  • 2019714618

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:

Imad Al-Hasani Al-Katib. Safinah Fragment. Early 17th Century. Manuscript/Mixed Material.

APA citation style:

Imad Al-Hasani Al-Katib. Safinah Fragment. Early 17th Century. [Manuscript/Mixed Material] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Imad Al-Hasani Al-Katib. Safinah Fragment. Early 17th Century. Manuscript/Mixed Material. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.