The Old Woman and the Sultan

Gorgeous Persian miniature, Sixteenth century, from a manuscript of the Khamseh (5 poems) of Nezami. An old woman unjustly deprived of her property by the soldiers of the Sultan comes to express her grievances and urges him to make good use of his power.

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Composed around 1176, the first of the "Five Poems" The Treasury of Secrets is an edifying and a mystical poem that brings moral reflections in the form of anecdotes. Collaborative effort between several masters working in the ketabkhâneh (workshop) to the chaybanide Sultan 'Abd al-' Aziz of Bukhara, a copy of this luxurious manuscript was completed by one of the greatest Persian calligraphers: Mir Ali al-Kateb. Executed later, in 1545 or 1546, this double-page painted by Mahmud Mozahheb evokes a famous episode supposed to inspire the conduct of rulers towards their subjects. Seljuk Sultan Sanjar on their way to hunt meets an old woman who complained of having been reduced to poverty by his people. The sovereign is consumed with remorse. The art of Bukhara reached its peak here in fine detail and sumptuous colors. The faces of the characters have been reworked, probably Mughal India where the manuscript was found in the seventeenth century. (Notice BnF)

  • Nombre de pièces : 1000
  • Taille : 48 X 68 cm.


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