Five Poems (Quintet)

Amir Khusraw Dihlavi1597-1598 (Mughal)

The Walters Art Museum

The Walters Art Museum

Walters manuscript W.624 is a deluxe copy of the Khamsah (quintet) of Amir Khusraw Dihlavi (died 725 AH / 1325). The manuscript was written in Nasta'liq script by one of the greatest calligraphers of the Mughal atelier, Muhammad Husayn al-Kashmiri, honored with the epithet Zarrin Qalam (golden pen). This copy of Dihlavi's Khamsah, likely produced in Lahore (present-day Pakistan) in the late10th century AH/16th, is associated with the patronage of Akbar (reigned 963-1014 AH/AD 1556-1605). The manuscript bears the names of a number of painters and illuminators. The illustrations bear ascriptions to the following artists: La'l (Lal), Manuhar, Sanwalah, Farrukh, Aliquli, Dharamdas, Narsing, Jagannath, Miskina, Mukund, and Surdas Gujarati. The illuminators are Husayn Naqqash, Mansur Naqqash, Khvajah Jan Shirazi, and Lu?f Allah Muzahhib. The borders are all elaborately illuminated with animal, bird, and geometric motifs, as well as human figures engaged in such activities as hunting, praying, and reading. The lacquer binding, decorated with pictorial scenes, is contemporary with the manuscript. Eight leaves from this copy of the Khamsah of Dihlavi are housed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (13.228.26-33).

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  • Title: Five Poems (Quintet)
  • Date Created: 1597-1598 (Mughal)
  • Physical Dimensions: w19 x h28.5 cm
  • Type: illuminated manuscripts
  • Rights: Acquired by Henry Walters, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/
  • External Link: The Walters Art Museum
  • Medium: ink and pigments on laid paper covered with lacquer
  • 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.
  • Place of Origin: Lahore, Pakistan (?)
  • ExhibitionHistory: Splendor in Books. Grolier Club, New York; The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1977-1978; The Art of the Book in India. British Library, London. 1982; The Taste of Maryland: Art Collecting in Maryland 1800-1934. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1984; Illuminated Manuscripts: Masterpieces in Miniature. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1984-1985; INDIA!. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. 1985-1986; Poetry and Prayer: Islamic Manuscripts from the Walters Art Museum. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. 2010
  • Author: Amir Khusraw Dihlavi