Digital Rare Book:
Poems from the Divan of Hafiz
Translated by Gertrude Lowthian Bell
Published by William Heineman, London - 1897
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Folio from a Divan (collected poems) by Hafiz (d. 1390); recto: text, Poem of wisdom of love, beauty, and celebration of time; verso: illustration and text, Feast of 'id
Opaque watercolor, ink and gold on paper
H: 30.0 W: 18.9 cm
This illustration belongs to an early-sixteenth-century copy of the Divan of the great Persian poet Hafiz. Known for his ghazals (lyrical odes), Hafiz's verses elaborate on certain abstract themes, such as youth, beauty, love, and wine, that are common to much of classical Persian poetry. His work is also infused with a distinct mystical content, associated with the Sufi sect of Islam.
The Feast of Id is inscribed with the following verses:
It is time to celebrate, the end [of the season] and
friends are waiting,
Saqi (wine bearer), behold the moon in the king's
face and bring wine.
The celebration marks the end of Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting, which begins and ends with the moon's sighting. Here, the crescent is visible in the upper right corner. To translate the lyrical mood of Hafiz's poem into visual form, the artist has created a lush garden setting, where elegantly dressed men are conversing, reading, listening to music, and drinking wine.
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