Manuscript/Mixed Material Gulzar calligraphic panel

About this Item


  • Gulzar calligraphic panel


  • Husayn Zarrin Qalam

Created / Published

  • 1212/1797-8


  • -  Calligraphy, Arabic
  • -  Calligraphy, Persian
  • -  Manuscripts, Arabic--Washington (D.C.)
  • -  Manuscripts, Persian--Washington (D.C.)
  • -  Iran
  • -  Arabic script calligraphy
  • -  Gulzar
  • -  Illuminated Islamic manuscripts
  • -  Islamic calligraphy
  • -  Islamic manuscripts
  • -  Shikastah
  • -  Nasta'liq
  • -  Thuluth
  • -  Naskh
  • -  Tawqi'
  • -  Kufi


  • -  Qajar era Shi'i Gulzar calligraphic panel of prayers with illustrauions of the 12 Imams written in thuluth, naskh, nasta'liq, shikastah, tawqi', and Kufi scripts by the calligrapher Husayn Zarrin Qalam.
  • -  All around the larger letters composed in the nasta'liq style and filled with motifs appear smaller Shi'i prayers purposefully executed in a number of different scripts. These include thuluth, naskh, nasta'liq, shikastah, tawqi', and Kufi. One inscription is even written in reverse, as if executed with the help of a mirror. The sheer variety of these scripts, along with the larger central gulzar composition, was intended to showcase Husayn Zarrin Qalam's mastery of all the major calligraphic scripts.
  • -  Another gulzar panel by the same calligrapher (though misidentified) was published in Yasin Safadi's "Islamic Calligraphy" (Boulder, CO: Shambhala, 1979), p. 110, fig. 123.
  • -  Dimensions of Written Surface: 34.5 (w) x 21 (h) cm
  • -  This calligraphic panel executed in black and red on a white ground decorated in gold contains a number of prayers (du'as) directed to God, the Prophet Muhammad, and his son-in-law 'Ali. The letters of the larger words are executed in nasta'liq script and filled with various decorative motifs, animals, and human figures. The human figures standing side-by-side in the central horizontal letter represent the eleven Shi'i imams and (a kneeling) Imam 'Ali, holding his double-edged sword Dhu al-Fiqar.
  • -  This decorative style of script, filled with various motifs, is called gulzar, which literally means "rose garden" or "full of flowers" (Safwat 1996, 106, cat. no. 52). It is usually applied to the interior of inscriptions executed in nasta'liq such as this one. The gulzar script was popular in Iran during the late 18th and 19th centuries. This piece -- written (tahrir shud) by the callligrapher Husayn Zarrin Qalam ("Husayn of the Golden Pen") for Husayn Khan Sultan in 1212/1797-8 -- dates to the early period of Qajar rule in Iran (1785-1925).
  • -  Script: gulzar
  • -  1-85-154.95
  • -  Near East scanned


  • 1 volume ; 36.9 (w) x 22.6 (h) cm


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

Digital Id

Library of Congress Control Number

  • 2019714627

Online Format

  • 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:

Husayn Zarrin Qalam. Gulzar Calligraphic Panel. /1797-8, 1797. Manuscript/Mixed Material.

APA citation style:

Husayn Zarrin Qalam. (1797) Gulzar Calligraphic Panel. /1797-8. [Manuscript/Mixed Material] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Husayn Zarrin Qalam. Gulzar Calligraphic Panel. /1797-8, 1797. Manuscript/Mixed Material. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.