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Album leaf with a Shii invocation, 17th century

Album leaf with a Shici invocation, 17th century India (Deccan or Kashmir) Ink, colors, and gold on paper

Album leaf with a Shii invocation, 17th century India (Deccan or Kashmir) Ink, colors, and gold on paper

This leaf of fine nastaliq calligraphy was conceived as an artistic endeavor, in which the writing is integrated with the ornamental background. The decorative technique of marbleizing paper spread from Iran to Turkey and to India, particularly the Deccan. Nastaliq calligraphy, employed in Iran, had also been favored in India since the late sixteenth century. Here, the scribe was very conscious of the rhythms and balances of the horizontal and vertical letters, written diagonally. The strong black ink against the gentle swirls of the smoky blue and pale beige of the marbleized design gives the impression that the letters are floating, adding a mystical dimension to the page.

About the Author
The Metropolitan Museum of Art was founded on April 13, 1870, in the City of New York. The Museum's collection of Islamic art ranges in date from the seventh to the nineteenth century. Its nearly twelve thousand objects reflect the great diversity and range of the cultural traditions of Islam, with works from as far westward as Spain and Morocco and as far eastward as Central Asia and India. Comprising sacred and secular objects, the collection reveals the mutual influence of artistic practices such as calligraphy, and the exchange of motifs such as vegetal ornament (the arabesque) and geometric patterning in both realms.
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