Posted on: 8 January 2016

Nan va Halva (Breads and Sweets)
Muhammad Baha' al-Din al-'Amili (1547–1620)
Illustrated manuscript
ca. 1690
India, Deccan, Aurangabad
Islamic
Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper Binding: leather

The text of this book is a series of moralizing poems on the merits of the ascetic life, three of which are illustrated. The painting illustrates the parable of a recluse who accepts bread from an infidel (depicted here as the English monarch Charles II) and is chided by a dog. The beautiful birds in the margin of the page compete for attention with the witty illustration.

Other paintings include one which accompanies a poem on the regrets of a life spent learning useless information; the artist has shown a school where only the sciences are taught, its teachers dozing, meditating and drinking.

Another painting accompanies a poem valorizing patience—a recluse, shown praying in the wilderness, does not receive his customary daily bread; when he accepts food offered by an infidel, he is scolded by a dog for not having waiting for God to provide.
A final image accompanies a poem about hypocrisy—it shows the widow Bibi Tamiz praying, although she is known to be a prostitute.

© The Metropolitan Museum of Art


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Here's my bad translation of the verses on the folio. ?? ???? ?? ???? ??? ??? ??? ?????? ??? ???? ? ?? ???? ?? ????? ???? ?? ???? ???? ?? ?? ? ??? ?? ???? Bar zabaan gar baguzrad lafze-e khabr, Khubz pindarad ravad hoshesh z sar, Kalb, dar dunbaal-aabid bu girift, Aamadash az piy va rakht-e u girift. If a word of knowledge passes the tongue, He thinks of bread and loses his mind, The dog, in the pursuit of the ascetic, picks up his scent, And arrives to grab at his feet and his clothes.

Deep roots of hate against people of different religion, sciences and women.

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Is that Charles the first on the cover?