This spectacular and unique reproduction of an Ottoman hilye, originally penned by Niyazi Efendi, is composed in thuluth and ta‘liq scripts. Containing the beautiful verbal portrait of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, describing both his general physical attributes and charismatic nature, the floral illumination of this elegant page further enhances the beauty of the superb calligraphy.
At the top of the composition, is the Basmalah (In the Name of God, the Clement, the Merciful).
The four corners above and below the main cartouche contain a surprising poetic composition in praise of the Seal of Prophets ﷺ uncommon to the standard hilye. It reads:
بلغ العُلا بكمالـــــــهِ
كشف الدُجى بجمالـهِ
حَسُنت جميعُ خصالهِ
صَلُّوا عليه و آلــــــهِ
He reached the heights through his perfection
He drove out darkness through his beauty
Beautified are all his attributes
Send blessings to him and his family
The hilye consists of another distinctive feature which is the mirror reflection of the name Muhammad imposed on a dervish Mevlevi cap. This brings to mind the famous quote of Mevlana Rumi concerning perfect humility:
I am the servant of the Qur'an as long as I have life. I am the dust on the path of Muhammad, the Chosen One.
As to the central cartouche, it contains the famous description of the Seal of Prophets ﷺ as described by Imam Ali:
He was not too tall and attenuated, nor was he excessively short. He was medium sized. His hair was not short and curly, nor was it lank, but it was smooth and wavy. His face was not narrow, nor was it fully round, but there was a roundness to it. His skin was a ruddy white. His eyes were black. He had long eyelashes. He was big-boned and had wide shoulders. He had no body hair except in the middle of his chest. He had thick hands and feet. When he walked, he walked inclined, as if descending a slope. When he looked at someone, he looked at them in full face. Between his shoulders was the seal of prophecy, the sign that he was the last of the prophets.
Details of the hilya by Niyazi Efendi
۩ Country of Origin: Ottoman Turkey
۩ Time Period: 1853-1854
۩ Artist: Niyazi Efendi
۩ Size: Approximately 46 x 34 cm (including frame)
۩ Print: High-quality matte print and detail finishings
۩ Frame: Wood frame with a gold finish
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