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Jami’s Haft Awrang (Seven Thrones)

The Lilly Haft Awrang is one of the earliest recorded Mughal manuscript. The 20 illustrations, however, were probably painted in the late 19th early or early 20th century. The paintings’ style attempts to approximate that of Safavid illustrations.

Accession Number:

Lilly Library, Allen mss. 11

Author:

Jami (d. 897/1492)

Calligraphers:

ʿAbd al-Hayy ibn ʿAla al-Din Muhammad al-Katib al-Haravi, Salamat al-Katib, Muhammad Javid ibn ʿAbd al-Vahhab al-Husaini, and one unknown copyist.

Date and location:

959-60/1552-53, Kabul (Mughal)

Binding:

Dark brown leather binding with large central stamped polylobed medallion with smaller medallions above and below, and four corner cartouches, all of which display remnants of gold and red paint, more noticeable on the decorative motifs of the back cover. The binding is made of leather covered pasteboard. The manuscript consists of bifolio quire gatherings sewn together with white string.

Doublure:

Light brown leather with faded gold traces of the same design on the front cover.

Number of Folios:

318

Dimensions of Folios:

35.9 x 23.2 cm

Dimensions of Written Surface:

21.6 x 13.5 cm

Number of paintings:

20

Dimensions of paintings:

22.5 x 13.5 cm (varies)

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Description

The Haft Awrang is a compilation of seven masnavi poems and constitutes the major poetical work of Jami (d. 1492) composed in the second half of the 15th century.

This illustrated early copy of Jami’s Haft Awrang was produced in the Mughal capital city of Kabul, as evidenced by the manuscript's seven signed and dated colophons. This book is comprised of colored papers often sprinkled with gold dust. The text is written in nastaʿliq script with rhyming couplets arranged into four columns on each page. Each chapter is initiated by a decorated chapter heading.

While the text is datable by means of the colophons, the illustrations were not executed at the same time as the text as they display features of later revival Safavid paintings produced at the turn of the 20th century.

The following article deals with similar pseudo-Safavid style 20th-century paintings: Simpson, “Mostly Modern Miniatures: Classical Persian Painting in the Early Twentieth Century.”