Calligraphic Practice Sheet

ink, gold and opaque watercolour on paper; mounted on board

written in nasta‘liq script

35.7 x 25cm

This is one of two practice sheets written by Nasir al-Din shah for Dust ‘Ali Khan, his court treasurer. The theme of the text here is love and friendship and, in the colophon, the Shah expresses his intention that Dust ‘Ali Khan should keep the piece.

The composition, which is written diagonally and partly upside-down, is dominated by the sweeping horizontal strokes characteristic of nasta‘liq. At the top is a painted rendering of the impression of the Shah’s seal.

N.F. Safwat, The Art of the Pen. Calligraphy of the 14th to 20th Centuries, The Nasser D. Khalili Collection of Islamic Art, volume V, London 1996, cat.19, pp.36 and 38.