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Illuminated Frontispiece from the Khamsa (Quintet) of Amir Khusraw Dihlavi
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Illuminated Frontispiece from the Khamsa (Quintet) of Amir Khusraw Dihlavi


Description Exhibitions Provenance Credit
Description The intricate sunburst pattern, or shamsa, embellished with gold and lapis lazuli, opens the story of Khusraw and Shirin, the second of the five poems of the Khamsa. The title of the book or chapter is often inscribed within the shamsa, but in this example, the illuminator, Husayn Naqqash, devoted the entire design to the display of exquisite, gem-like decoration. Hypnotic shamsa designs were a vehicle for master illuminators to display their virtuosity.
Exhibitions
  • Pearls of the Parrot of India: The Emperor Akbar's Illustrated "Khamsa," 1597-1598. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. 2005-2006.
  • Pearls on a String: Artists, Patrons, and Poets at the Great Islamic Courts. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore; Asian Art Museum, San Francisco. 2015-2016.
Provenance Muhammad Zaki, 1241 AH/AD 1825-1826 [mode of acquisition unknown] [oval seal, fols. 1a, 211a]; 'abd al-raji Muhammad Shafi', 1247 AH/AD 1831-1832 [mode of acquisition unknown] [rectangular seal fols. 1a, 211a]; Muhammad 'Ali [date and mode of acquisition unknown] [large oval seal with no date on fol. 211a]; Henry Walters, Baltimore [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters

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Period
1597-1598 (Mughal)
Medium
opaque watercolor, ink, and gold and on paper
(Manuscripts & Rare Books)
Accession Number
W.624.42A
Measurements
H: 11 1/4 x W: 7 1/2 in. (28.5 x 19 cm)
Geographies
Location Within Museum
Not On View

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