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Manuscript/Mixed Material Quatrain for a king

About this Item


  • Quatrain for a king


  • Mir 'Ali Heravi (attr.)

Created / Published

  • 1500-1550


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


  • -  Quatrain for a king written in black Nasta'liq script by the calligrapher Mir 'Ali Heravi (d. 951/1544-5) during the Shaybanid period.
  • -  Dimensions of Written Surface: 9.5 (w) x 17.6 (h) cm
  • -  In the lower left corner, the calligrapher, 'Ali, states that he wrote the work (katabahu). 'Ali may be identified as Mir 'Ali Heravi (d. 951/1544-5), a calligrapher active in the city of Herat (modern Afghanistan) during the 16th century, until he was taken to Bukhara (modern Uzbekistan) in 935/1528-29 by the Shaybanid ruler 'Ubaydallah Khan Uzbek (Qadi Ahmad 1959: 126-131). He not only was the creator of nasta'liq but also a poet in his own right, having composed a number of sample verses (qit'a) in honor of his patrons. This may be one of the poems he composed for a royal benefactor.
  • -  In the top right corner, an invocation to God "the Unique and the Only" (huwa al-fard al-ahad) begins the poem. The subsequent verses read:
  • -  Oh King, the retinue of good fortune escorts you. / Rise if you intend to capture the world. / With such a summit of perfection form the presence of Your rulership. / You are aware and you serve the conscious hearts.
  • -  Other calligraphic fragments written by, or attributed to, Mir 'Ali are held in the collections of the Library of Congress. See, for example, 1-04-713.19.38, 1-87-154.158, 1-87-154.159 and 1-88-154.65.
  • -  Padishahha lashgar-i tawfiq hamrah-i tu-and / Khiz agar bar 'azm-i taskhir-i jahan rah mikuni / Ba chanin uj-i kamal as pishgah-i saltanat / Agahi u khidmat-i dilha-yi agah mikuni
  • -  This calligraphic piece includes an iambic pentameter quatrain, or ruba'i, written diagonally in black nasta'liq script outlined in cloud bands on a gold background. The text panel is provided with several monochromatic frames and is pasted onto a larger pink sheet strengthened by cardboard.
  • -  This poetic eulogy to a king encourages him to defeat his enemy thanks to the support of his faithful retinue, good fortune. It also advises him to be aware and serve his people ("those with conscious hearts").
  • -  Script: nasta'liq
  • -  1-90-154.180


  • 1 volume ; 20.3 (w) x 17.7 (h) cm


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

Digital Id

Library of Congress Control Number

  • 2019714709

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:

Mir 'Ali Heravi. Quatrain for a King. to 1550, 1500. Manuscript/Mixed Material.

APA citation style:

Mir 'Ali Heravi. (1500) Quatrain for a King. to 1550. [Manuscript/Mixed Material] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Mir 'Ali Heravi. Quatrain for a King. to 1550, 1500. Manuscript/Mixed Material. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.