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Manuscript/Mixed Material Verses on tragic love

About this Item


  • Verses on tragic love


  • Shah Muhammad al-Mashhadi

Created / Published

  • 968/1560-1


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


  • -  Verses on tragic love drawn from the love story of Laylah and Majnun, written in the black Nasta'liq script by calligrapher Shah Muhammad al-Mashhadi in 16th Cent.
  • -  Between the diagonal and lower horizontal lines on the text panel appears a triangle (or thumb piece) inscribed by the calligrapher Shah Muhammad al-Mashhadi, who notes that he wrote (mashaqahu) the verses and requests forgiveness from God for his sins. Between the first and the second bayt of poetry written in diagonal, Shah Muhammad al-Mashhadi also specifies that he wrote the work during the months (fi shuhur) of the year 968/1560-1. Shah Muhammad al-Mashhadi was a calligrapher originally from the holy city of Mashhad in northeastern Iran who migrated to India. As a calligrapher in the nasta'liq script, his work recalls the style of his more famous contemporary, Mir 'Imad al-Hasani (see 1-84-154.3, 1-84-154.43, 1-85-154.72, 1-85-154.77, 1-87-154.160, 1-90-154.162)
  • -  Dimensions of Written Surface: 10.4 (w) x 23.5 (h) cm
  • -  Qudsiyan kin pardaha-yi sabz-i gardun basta-and / Mahd-i 'aysh-i 'ashiqan zin parda birun basta-and / in fusun khwanan ka dar tanha bi-afsun jan damand / Pish-i an la'l fusun khwan lab za afsun basta-and / Nu 'arus-i husn-i Layla-ra bi-khalvatgah-i naz / Gushvar az danha-yi 'ashq-i Majnun basta-and
  • -  The holy angels that fastened these veils of the green firmament / That placed the cradle of the lovers' joy outside of this curtain / Those magicians that blow life into bodies by sorcery / They shut the mouths of magic in the presence of the garnet (lip) of the enchanter / New bride of Laylah's beauty in the empty place of coquetry / They placed (on her) the necklace from the tears of Majnun
  • -  The verses are executed in black nasta'liq script in diagonal and horizontal lines on a beige paper decorated with bird and flower motifs painted in gold. The right and left vertical sides of the text panel are framed by a green border bearing gold flecks. The calligraphic specimen is pasted onto a larger sheet of light yellow paper decorated by interlacing pink arabesques and animals.
  • -  This calligraphic fragment includes three bayts (verses) of poetry that use the tragic love story of Laylah and Majnun to describe the magic and pain of love. With an initial invocation to God in the upper right corner ("He is the Glorified," or huwa al-mu'izz), the verses then read:
  • -  Script: nasta'liq
  • -  1-87-154.161


  • 1 volume ; 19.3 (w) x 30.2 (h) cm


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

Digital Id

Library of Congress Control Number

  • 2019714663

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:

Shah Muhammad Al-Mashhadi. Verses on Tragic Love. 968/-1, 1560. Manuscript/Mixed Material.

APA citation style:

Shah Muhammad Al-Mashhadi. (1560) Verses on Tragic Love. 968/-1. [Manuscript/Mixed Material] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Shah Muhammad Al-Mashhadi. Verses on Tragic Love. 968/-1, 1560. Manuscript/Mixed Material. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.