Description of al-Fatiha Leaf by Mir 'Ali al-Katib
This extraordinary composition is a reproduction of a leaf from an Arabic manuscript scripted by Mir 'Ali al-Katib. It contains the opening chapter, al-Fatiha (The Opening), of the Holy Quran in nastaliq calligraphy. The six lines are arranged diagonally, each in cloud-band, on illuminated ground with floral decorations. The illuminated card bordering the main text consists of wonderful images of celestial animals an archer on horseback.
Surah al-Fatiha is a short chapter of seven brief verses, but it is a veritable mine of knowledge and wisdom. Aptly called ‘Mother of the Book,’ it is the very essence of the Qur’an. It translates to:
In the Name of God, the Infinitely Good, the All-Merciful. Praise be to God, the Lord of the worlds. The Infinitely Good, the All-Merciful. Master of the day of judgement. Thee we worship, and in Thee we seek help. Guide us upon the way of Transcendence. The way of those on whom Thy Grace is not those who deserve anger nor those who are astray.
Mir 'Ali al-Katib (d.1556) is often mentioned by Safavid sources as amongst the most important nastaliq calligraphers of all time. Various authorities attribute the codifying of the aesthetic rules of nastaliq script to him. Born in Herat circa 1476, he was later taken to Bukhara by the Shaybanid ruler 'Ubaydullah Khan after his capture of Herat in AH 935/1528-29 AD. His recorded works are dated between AH 914/1508-09 AD and AH 951/1544-45 AD. The works of leading Persian calligraphers were particularly prized at the Mughal court and Mir ‘Ali was amongst those particularly admired by Jahangir.
Details of the calligraphic panel with Surah al-Fatiha
۩ Country of Origin: Iran
۩ Time Period: first half 16th century
۩ Artist: Mir 'Ali al-Katib
۩ Size: Approximately 46 x 34 cm (including frame)
۩ Print: High-quality matte print and detail finishing
۩ Frame: Wood frame with a gold finish
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