Muraqqa' album

Scope and Content

A concertina album of calligraphic specimens with illuminated borders. The album, kept within a lacquer binding opens in concertina fashion and comprises 28 pages. Each page has bold floral margins, some inhabited by birds and insects, some executed in a characteristically Qajar style, which postdates the examples of calligraphy the pages contain. Some of the border illuminations are copied from the immediately preceding page. The following names and dates are mentioned: p.1 Shah Mahmud and Mir 'Ali al-Husayni; p.4 Faqir 'Ali; pp.15, 16, 17 Muhammad Salih, dated, on p.15, 1105AH (1693 CE), here illustrated; p.19, Nur al-Din Muhammad al-Isfahani, dated 1087 AH (1676 CE); pp.21, 22, Mir 'Ali, written in Qazwin. p.24 'Abd al-Rashid.

The lacquer binding contains a bird perched on a spray of roses and a butterfly on a dark chocolate ground. The middle border is made up of cartouches, filled with flowers on a brilliant green ground, separated by smaller rosettes. This arrangement is a transmission from leather bindings with stamped borders dating rom the 15th century. The centre bears the date 1165 AH (1751 CE) and the crypto-signature Ya Baqir al-Ulum ('O you who are well-versed in learning!') which refers to both the 5th Shi'i Imam Muhammad Baqir and the painter Muhammad Baqir, a pupil of 'Ali Ashraf (died c.1760), known for his bird and flower compositions on lacquer. The doublures, also in lacquer, have large lobed roundels with separated escutcheons also derived from leather binding design, painted with floral sprays on a brilliant red ground.

Conditions Governing Access


Acquisition Information

Donated in 1935 on behalf of the late Mr R.S. Greenshields.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

Each page: H26.5cm x W17cm. Binding: H27 x W18.5cm.

Conditions Governing Use

For permission to publish, please contact Archives & Special Collections, SOAS Library in the first instance