The bird is a striking example of the so-called “calligram”, figurative imagery artfully drawn from characters, which were very popular particularly in later Islamic calligraphy. Since this form of calligraphy was used especially in the field of Islamic mysticism, it tends to have a religious background. Thus, it is words such as Allah (God), Ali (the name of the fourth caliph worshipped especially by the Shiites), or the Islamic Bismillah phrase (the “basmala”), in particular, that are transformed by means of sweeping brush strokes into mosques, lions, swords or, as the basmala is here, into a bird. Calligrams such as these were particularly popular in private homes or shops, mounted on the walls. Even today numerous calligraphers specialize in calligrams.