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Asian Art

Poem in Shikasta script

18th century

Ink, color, and gold on paper

image: 10 1/2 × 6 7/8 in. (26.6 × 17.5 cm)
Hobart and Edward Small Moore Memorial Collection, Gift of Mrs. William H. Moore
1951.51.56
Visual harmony was prized in Persian calligraphy, and artists were free to adjust the spacing between letters or stack words on top of one another to create a cohesive design across the page. This poem is written in a specific calligraphic script known as shikasta, which favors beauty over legibility and was especially popular for Persian texts. Reading this script allowed one to demonstrate his learning in a social setting—though this ability was facilitated by memorization of the inscribed poem in advance and understanding of the poetic meter.
Geography: 
Iran
Culture: 
Iranian/Persian, Islamic
Period: 
Qajar dynasty (1789–1925)
Classification: 
Calligraphy
Provenance: 

Asia Institute, New York; Mrs. William H. Moore (Ada Small Moore) (1858–1955) New York; gift in 1951 to the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.