Colophon page of Gulistan of Sadi
1581
Copied by Muhammad Husayn Kashmiri
Portraits of the calligrapher and self by Manohar (flourished late 16th–early 17th century)
Opaque watercolor and gold on paper
H. 12.8 x W. 8.5 in.
Royal Asiatic Society

In the court of the Mughal emperor Akbar (r. 1556–1605), calligraphers and painters associated with the royal atelier enjoyed a particularly important status. This is a page from the manuscript of the Gulistan, one of the best known works of Persian literature written by the poet Sadi. It was copied onto this manuscript page by Muhammad Husayn Kashmiri, a calligrapher in Akbar’s atelier. The illustration, by the artist Manohar, depicts a calligraphy lesson. In it, Manohar included Husayn Kashmiri, as the older figure draped in a robe, and himself, as the younger figure.

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