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13.4 Biography: Calligraphists and Painters
(2,640 words)

In Volume 1-2: Biography, Additions, and Corrections | Section 2, History, Biography, etc.

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In the parts of this work devoted to the biography of poets and saints, attention has been drawn to a number of historical works containing biographical sections. Some of these contain notices of calligraphists (in addition to such poets as were also calligraphists), but no attempt is made here to give a complete list of such works.

In an article entitled K̲h̲aṭṭ u k̲h̲aṭṭāṭān, which he contributed to the ocm. x/4 (Aug. 1934), pp. 3–72, Prof. M. S̲h̲afīʿ published extracts relating to calligraphists from (1) the K̲h̲aṭṭ u sawād of Majnūn b. Maḥmūd Rafīqī, (2) an unidentified general history, possibly the K̲h̲ulāṣat al-tawārīk̲h̲ of Aḥmad Ibrāhīmī (cf. no. 1431 infra), (3) the Mirʾāt al-ʿālam of Bak̲h̲tāwar K̲h̲ān, (4) the K̲h̲ulāṣat al-makātīb of Sujān Rāy and (5) the Mirʾāt al-iṣṭilāḥ of Anand Rām “Muk̲h̲liṣ”. An index to the names of the calligraphists noticed in these extracts is given on p. 70 of M. S̲h̲afīʿ’s article. Further information concerning the first three of these sets of extracts will be found below.

§ 1423. The second chapter of Majnūn b. Maḥmūd al-Rafīqī’s K̲h̲aṭṭ u sawād (written after 909/1503–4: see Bodleian 1369 (1); Rieu ii 531b; Ivanow 1623 (1), 1624; Ethé 1763 (4), 2931) is devoted to very brief notices of calligraphists and has been published by M. S̲h̲afīʿ in ocm. x/4 (Aug. 1934), pp. 17–18. The whole work has been published by Yā-Sīn K̲h̲ān “Niyāzī” in ocm. xi/2 (Feb. 1935), pp. 46–74.

§ 1424. For the Laṭāʾif-nāmah, which was written in 927/1521 by Sulṭān-Muḥammad “Fak̲h̲rī” b. “Amīrī” Harawī and of which the fifth qism of the ninth majlis is devoted to arbāb i hunar, including calligraphists and painters, see no. 1094, Persian translations (1) supra.

§ 1425. For the Bāburnāmah, which contains brief notices of Sulṭān-ʿAlī Mas̲h̲hadī, the calligraphist, and Bihzād, the painter, (published in ʿAbd al-Raḥīm’s Persian translation by M. S̲h̲afīʿ in ocm. x/3 pp. 147–8), see no. 698 supra.

§ 1426. For M. Ḥaidar Dūg̲h̲lāt’s Tārīk̲h̲ i Ras̲h̲īdī, of which the second daftar, completed in 948/1541, contains biographies of scholars, poets, calligraphists, painters, etc., see no. 349 supra. The Persian text of the whole of this biographical section has been published by C. Salemann in Mélanges asiatiques ix (St. Petersburg 1888) pp. 323–80 and by M. S̲h̲afīʿ in ocm. x/3 (Lahore, May 1934) pp. 150–70. An English translation of the notices of painters and gilders was published by T. W. Arnold under the title Mīrzā Muḥammad Ḥaydar Dughlāt on the Harāt school of painters in the bsos. v/4 (1930) pp. 671–4.

§ 1427. Dūst-Muḥammad al-Kātib, as he calls himself (Ḥālāt i hunarwarān p. 88), was according to his own statement (op. cit. p. 307) one of the kuttāb i kitāb-k̲h̲ānah i s̲h̲arīfah i aʿlā ʿillīyūn. Probably he is identical with Dūst-Muḥammad Harātī, who is mentioned by Aḥmad Ibrāhīmī (cf. no. 1431 infra) and others1 as a calligraphist of S̲h̲āh Ṭahmāsp’s time and who according to the former (see bsos. x/1 p. 205 n. 2) was the king’s favourite and was retained in his service when all the other calligraphists were dismissed.

(Ḥālāt i hunarwarān2), a sketch of the history of Muslim calligraphy and painting written as an introduction (dībāc̲h̲ah, p. 311) to an album of ancient and modern paintings and specimens of calligraphy arranged and embellished by the author in 953/1546 at the command and for the library of Abū ’l-Fatḥ Bahrām Mīrzā:3 Istānbūl Tōp Qapū Sarāy.

Edition: A treatise on calligraphists and miniaturists, Ḥālāt i hunar­warān, by Dōst Muhammad, the Librarian of Behram Mirza (d. 1550), edited by M. Abdullah Chaghtai, Lahore 1936‡.

§ 1428. For the Tuḥfah i Sāmī, which was composed, at least partly, in or about 957/1550, and which contains notices of a number of calligraphists, painters, musicians, etc., see no. 1100 supra. The notices of these calligraphists, painters, etc., extracted from the various parts of the Tuḥfah i Sāmī were published by M. S̲h̲afīʿ in an article entitled Iqtibāsāt i Tuḥfah i Sāmī rājiʿ bah hunarwarān in the ocm. x/2 (Feb. 1934) pp. 73–128 (the last two pages being an alphabetical index).

§ 1429. For the Mud̲h̲akkir i aḥbāb, written in 974/1566–7 by “Nit̲h̲ārī” Buk̲h̲ārī, from which extracts relating to seven poets who were also calligraphists have been published by Nawwāb Ṣadr Yār Jang in ocm. xi/2 (Feb. 1935) pp. 39–45, see no. 1102 supra.

§ 1430. Extracts relating to calligraphists from an unidentified general history4 written apparently in the second half of the tenth/sixteenth century were published by M. S̲h̲afīʿ in ocm. x/4 (Aug. 1934) pp. 23–30.

§ 1431. Qāḍī Aḥmad Ibrāhīmī Ḥusainī [Qummī] b. Mīr Muns̲h̲ī S̲h̲araf al-Dīn Ḥusain was the great-grandson of Ḥāfiẓ Qanbar S̲h̲arafī, an Abyssinian slave who was a calligraphist and poet in the service of Qāḍī S̲h̲araf al-Dīn, Governor of Qum (bsos. x/1 (1939) p. 200). His father, who “was successively munsh̲ī to Sām Mīrzā5 in Harāt, scribe to the secretariat under the vakīl Aḥmad Beg Nūr Kamāl, and vazīr at the court of the famous Ibrāhīm Mīrzā, when that prince was governor in Mashhad” (bsos. x/1 p. 201), received from S̲h̲āh Ṭahmāsp (ah 930–84/1524–76) the title of Mīr Muns̲h̲ī and died in 990/1582 at the age of seventy-six (ibid.). Qāḍī Aḥmad, when still a boy (dar aiyām i ṣibā, bsos. p. 204 penult.), went in 964/1556–7 to Mas̲h̲had and remained there for eight years, during which time he received instruction in penmanship from S̲h̲āh Maḥmūd Zarrīn-Qalam Nīs̲h̲āpūrī (d. 972/1564–5). S̲h̲āh Ismāʿīl ii (ah 984–5/1576–8) instructed him to write a history extending from the accession of S̲h̲āh Ismāʿīl I (ah 907–30/1502–24) to the current reign (zdmg. 89 p. 319), and this task he fulfilled by composing the fifth volume of the K̲h̲ulāṣat al-tawārīk̲h̲,6 which he completed down to 999/1590–17 and dedicated to S̲h̲āh ʿAbbās (ah 985–1038/1587–1629). Other works of his, mentioned in the K̲h̲ulāṣat al-tawārīk̲h̲ but not yet recorded in any published catalogue, were Majmaʿ al-s̲h̲uʿarāʾ wa-manāqib al-fuḍalāʾ, a tad̲h̲kirah of poets (zdmg. 89 p. 317. Cf. bsos. x p. 200), and Jamʿ al-k̲h̲iyār, a tad̲h̲kirah in at least six volumes on the scholars and poets of Ād̲h̲arbāyjān, Arabian ʿIrāq and ʿArabistān (zdmg., loc. cit.).

(Tad̲h̲kirah i k̲h̲wus̲h̲-nawīsān u naqqās̲h̲ān8), written [circ. 1006/1597–8] about twenty years after the execution of S̲h̲āh Ṭahmāsp’s daughter, Parī-K̲h̲ān K̲h̲ānum [3 D̲h̲ū ’l-Ḥijjah 985/11 Feb. 1578. See ʿĀlam-ārāy i ʿAbbāsī p. 162] and divided into three faṣls ((1) t̲h̲ult̲h̲-writers, (2) taʿlīq-writers, (3) nastaʿlīq-writers) and a k̲h̲ātimah (on a few of the most recent painters, illuminators, and other craftsmen): London (?) private library of Mrs. C. C. Edwards (84 foll., lacking introduction and a leaf or leaves at end), Ḥaidarābād private library of Āqā S. M. ʿAlī (lacks a page or more of the introduction), Moscow Museum of Oriental Civilisations.

Edition: announced as in preparation by Miss Zahrā Dāʿīzādah for the M.A. degree at Ḥaidarābād (cf. bsos. x/1 (1939) p. 211).

Russian translation: Kazi Ahmed. Traktat o kalligrafakh i khudozhnikakh … Vvedenie, perevod i kommentarii Professora B. N. Zakhodera. Moscow 1947.


(1) Calligraphers and artists: a Persian work of the late 16th century. By C. C. Edwards (with the text and translation of two extracts (S̲h̲āh Maḥmūd and Āqā Riḍā) and an index to the calligraphers and artists. In bsos. x/1 (1939) pp. 199–211),

(2) Tad̲h̲kirah i k̲h̲wus̲h̲-nawīsān u naqqās̲h̲ān, by Zahrā Dāʿī-zādah (in Armag̲h̲ān xix (1318)/5–6 pp. 344–5).

§ 1432. For the Ma‌ʾāt̲h̲ir i Raḥīmī, which was completed in 1025/1616 by ʿAbd al-Bāqī Nihāwandī, and of which the third volume is devoted to notices of contemporary celebrities including towards the end some calligraphists and painters, see no. 711 supra.

§ 1433. For the ʿAmal i Ṣāliḥ of M. Ṣāliḥ Kanbō Lāhaurī, which was completed in 1070/1659–60 and which contains at the end of vol. ii notices of seven calligraphists (pp. 443–6), see no. 738 (1) supra.

§ 1434. For the Mirʾāt al-ʿālam, which was composed in 1078/1667 ostensibly by Bak̲h̲tāwar K̲h̲ān but really by M. Baqā Sahāranpūrī and of which the first numūd of the afzāyis̲h̲ is devoted to notices of calligraphists (published by M. S̲h̲afīʿ in ocm. x/4 (Aug. 1934) pp. 33–65), see no. 151 (2) supra.

§ 1435. For the Tad̲h̲kirah i Ṭāhir i Naṣrābādī, which was begun in 1083/1672–3 and of which the second firqah of the third ṣaff is devoted to calligraphists, see no. 1130 supra. The Persian text of this second firqah was published by M. S̲h̲afīʿ on the basis of a British Museum ms. (Rieu i p. 368) in the ocm. xi/4 (Aug. 1935) pp. 154–9.

§ 1436. Notices of some Sindī calligraphists from the third volume (p. 241 in the 1304 edition) of ʿAlī-S̲h̲ēr “Qāniʿ” Tattawī’s Tuḥfat al-kirām (for which see no. 828 (1) supra) have been published on the basis of an autograph ms. by M. S̲h̲afīʿ under the title K̲h̲aṭṭāṭān i Sind in ocm. xi/2 (Feb. 1935) pp. 131–4.

§ 1437. K̲h̲alīfah S̲h̲. G̲h̲ulām-Muḥammad “Rāqim” Haft-qalamī Akbar-S̲h̲āhī Dihlawī, a calligraphist of note in his time, is mentioned by “Qāsim” in his Majmūʿah i nag̲h̲z, a tad̲h̲kirah composed in 1221/1806, as a young man who “twelve or thirteen years ago before going to Lucknow” had read with him the S̲h̲arḥ i S̲h̲amsīyah [i.e. Quṭb al-Dīn al-Rāzī’s commentary on al-Kātibī’s manual of logic entitled al-Risālat al-S̲h̲amsīyah] and the Ḥās̲h̲iyah i Mīr [i.e. the annotations of al-Saiyid al-S̲h̲arīf al-Jurjānī (see no. 53 supra) on the S̲h̲arḥ al-S̲h̲amsīyah], had submitted Urdu verses to him and who, having returned to Delhi, was at that time studying medicine under Mirzā Muḥammad “ʿIs̲h̲q”. He must have been born some years before 1194/1780, since he was a pupil of the calligraphist M. Ḥafīẓ K̲h̲ān, who died in that year and, if the date ah 1261/1845 is not a later addition to the work mentioned as no. iii below, he must have lived to an advanced age.

(Tadhkirah i k̲h̲wus̲h̲-nawīsān) (beg. ai qiṭʿah i luṭf zīr-mas̲h̲q i karamat), chronologically arranged notices of celebrated calligraphists preceded by instructions in prose and verse concerning the choice of a pen, the making of ink, etc.: Rieu ii 532a (defective, ad 1863), Ivanow Curzon 86 (defective. Mid 19th cent.).

Edition: The Tad̲h̲kira-i-k̲h̲us̲h̲navīsān of Mawlānā G̲h̲ulām Muḥammad Dihlavī edited with prefaces, notes, and indices by M. Hidayet Husain, Calcutta 1910°* (Bibliotheca Indica).

Musawwadah i Tad̲h̲kirah i k̲h̲aṭṭ u k̲h̲wus̲h̲-nawīsān az ibtidāy [sic] tā zamān i āk̲h̲ir i sanah i 1239 (beg. Ḥamdī kih qalam az taḥrīr i ān qāṣir ast), a work of which the contents are “to some extent identical” with those of the preceding Rieu ii 532b (incomplete and out of order. 19th cent.), Rāmpūr (see Oriental College Magazine, vol. vi, no. 2 (Lahore, Feb. 1930), pp. 113–14, where the work is called Tad̲h̲kirat al-kātibīn). Probably Bānkīpūr xi 1077, in which the preface, defective at the beginning, mentions a division into a muqaddimah, three9 bābs and a k̲h̲ātimah and gives 1239/1823 as the date of completion, is another copy of this work or of this recension.
(Risālah i mutaḍammin i ḥālāt i k̲h̲wus̲h̲-nawīsān i k̲h̲uṭūṭ10), notices of Indian calligraphists from the time of Akbar to that of Bahādur S̲h̲āh ii divided into four faṣls ((1) nastaʿlīq writers, (2) s̲h̲ikastah and s̲h̲afīʿāʾī writers, (3) nask̲h̲ī and ṭug̲h̲rā writers, (4) seal-engravers), the latest date mentioned being ah 1261/1845: Rieu iii 1033a (circ. ad 1850).

[Majmūʿah i nag̲h̲z i 264; Guls̲h̲an i bē-k̲h̲ār 125; Sprenger p. 280 ult.; Garcin de Tassy ii p. 567.]

§ 1438. Mīrzā Sanglāk̲h̲ K̲h̲urāsānī, surnamed (mulaqqab) Dānā-yi Irān and Āftāb i K̲h̲urāsān, calligraphist, poet, and Ṣūfī, one of the celebrities of his time in Persia, excelled especially in the writing of nastaʿlīq. In the course of his travels, which are described at some length in the Imtiḥān al-fuḍalāʾ, he visited not only many parts of Persia but also Turkistān, ʿArabistān, Kurdistān, Turkey, and Egypt. At Istānbūl he made a prolonged stay. He died at Tabrīz in 1294/1877 at the age of one hundred and ten “approximately”. A poem of his in praise of Smyrna was published with a Turkish paraphrase (Tarjamah i qaṣīdah i Sanglāk̲h̲ dar madḥ i Izmīr) at Būlāq in 1261/1845°.

Imtiḥān al-fuḍalāʾ, or Tad̲h̲kirat al-k̲h̲aṭṭaṭīn, bombastic notices of calligraphists in four unnumbered parts ((1) ancient and modern calligraphists, (2) an account of Sanglāk̲h̲’s travels, dated 1288/1871, (3) Sanglāk̲h̲’s pupils, (4) Ottoman calligraphists), described on the title-page as the work of Sanglāk̲h̲ but written actually, as is not concealed, by his pupil, Muns̲h̲ī “G̲h̲aibī”: [Tabrīz] 1291/1874° (foll. 465, unpaginated. Described as Vol i). [Imtiḥān al-fuḍalāʾ (portrait facing 2nd title-page); al-Ma‌ʾāt̲h̲ir wa-’l-āt̲h̲ār p. 216.]

§ 1439. Ḥājjī Mīrzā ʿAbd al-Muḥammad K̲h̲ān Iṣfahānī Īrānī is, or was, editor of the illustrated weekly newspaper C̲h̲ihrah-numā published from 1322/1904–5 onwards first for a short time at Alexandria and subsequently at Cairo11 In the preface to his Paidāyis̲h̲ i k̲h̲aṭṭ u k̲h̲aṭṭāṭān, of which he wrote the k̲h̲ātimah in Ramaḍān 1346/1928, he mentions works of his entitled Amān al-tawārīk̲h̲ and Fuʾād al-tawārīk̲h̲.

Paidāyis̲h̲ i k̲h̲aṭṭ u k̲h̲aṭṭāṭān, a sketch of the history of writing from its beginning to the early ʿAbbāsid period followed by (1) notices of Ibn Muqlah (p. 90), Ḥasan b. Muqlah (p. 107), Ibn Bawwāb (p. 109), and al-Buk̲h̲ārī (p. 115), (2) more or less alphabetically arranged notices of 104 calligraphists, none of them, except Abū ’l-Faḍl Sāwajī (d. 1312/1894–5. p. 153, under Mīrzā), later than the first half of the 18th century, the first being Ibrāhīm Mīrzā Ṣafawī (p. 117) and the last Yaḥyā-yi Ṣūfī (7th/13th cent.), (3) Sargud̲h̲as̲h̲t i ijmālī i bark̲h̲ī az k̲h̲aṭṭāṭān i gum-nām (p. 249), (4) Sargudh̲asht i k̲h̲wus̲h̲-nawīsān i muta-ʾak̲h̲k̲h̲irīn u maʿāṣirīn, containing after a brief historical introduction notices of ʿAbd al-Wahhāb “Nas̲h̲āṭ;” (d. 1244/1829, p. 252), ʿAlī K̲h̲ān Amīn al-Daulah (p. 254), M. Ḥusain Mus̲h̲kīn-qalam (d. 1330/1912. p. 256), Qāsim Āqā Tabrīzī (d. 1292/1875. p. 258), M. ʿAlī b. Ḥusain ʿAlī Bahāʾ (b. 1270/1853–4. p. 260) and Najīb Bēk Hawāwīnī: Cairo 1345–6/1927–8‡.

§ 1440. Appendix

Tārīk̲h̲ i Kalām al-mulūk12 (fī bayān ẓuhūr wa-ījād al-k̲h̲aṭṭ wa-aḥwāl al-k̲h̲aṭṭāṭīn. Beginning of the first Cairo ms.: Bi-dān-kih aṣl i k̲h̲aṭṭ nuqṭah ast), by Mīrzā Yūsuf al-Lāhijī: Cairo p. 500 (part only. Foll. 49), ibid. (the same part ? Foll. 36. ah 1275/1858).

next chapter: 13.5 Companions of the Prophet


^ Back to text1. Cf. Paidāyis̲h̲ i k̲h̲aṭṭ u k̲h̲aṭṭāṭān p. 157. In a list of nastaʿlīq-writers who died in S̲h̲āh Ṭahmāsp’s reign Iskandar Muns̲h̲ī gives the name, but no further particulars, of Maulānā Dūst (so, not Dūst-Muḥammad) Harātī (ʿĀlam-ārāy i ʿAbbāsī p. 124).

^ Back to text2. This title, which by chronogrammatic licence indicates 952 (instead of 953), is the invention of the editor, M. Abdullah Chaghtai.

^ Back to text3. One of S̲h̲āh Ṭahmāsp’s younger brothers. He died on 19 Ramaḍān 956/11 Oct. 1549 at the age of 33 and was buried at Mas̲h̲had (Ḥasan Rūmlū p. 342, Seddon’s trans. p. 155).

^ Back to text4. Possibly the K̲h̲ulāṣat al-tawārīk̲h̲ of Aḥmad Ibrāhīmī (for which see no. 1431 infra). According to the owner, Prof. Maḥmūd S̲h̲ērānī, of Lahore, the title K̲h̲ulāṣat al-tawārīk̲h̲ was written on the back of the ms., from which both the beginning and the end are missing.

^ Back to text5. Cf. no. 1100 supra.

^ Back to text6. A ms. of this fifth volume was acquired in 1895 by the Preussische Staatsbibliothek and has been described by W. Hinz in an article entitled Eine neuentdeckte Quelle zur Geschichte Irans im 16. Jahrhundert (zdmg. 89/3–4 (1935) pp. 315–28). See also second previous footnote.

^ Back to text7. The Berlin ms., which is defective at the end, breaks off in the year 1592. Persian histories often extend beyond the limits indicated in their prefaces.

^ Back to text8. Correct title unknown.

^ Back to text9. Only two bābs ((1) seventy calligraphists, mainly nastaʿlīq-writers, (2) thirty-six s̲h̲ikastah-writers) are mentioned in M. S̲h̲ajāʿat-ʿAlī K̲h̲ān’s description of the Rāmpūr ms.

^ Back to text10. These are the opening words of the b.m. ms.

^ Back to text11. Cf. Browne Press and poetry of modern Persia pp. 72–3.

^ Back to text12. Two works with this title have already been mentioned (nos. 430–31 supra). Whether the title has good authority in this case is not clear.

Cite this page
“13.4 Biography: Calligraphists and Painters”, in: Storey Online, Charles Ambrose Storey. Consulted online on 27 September 2023 <>
First published online: 2021

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