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Identification and Creation

Object Number
Illustrated Manuscript of the Kulliyat (Complete Works) of Sa'di
Work Type
late 16th century
Creation Place: Middle East, Iran, Shiraz
Safavid period
Persistent Link

Physical Descriptions

Ink, colors, and gold on paper; gilt-stamped leather binding
22 x 14 cm (8 11/16 x 5 1/2 in.)


Recorded Ownership History
Ezzat-Malek Soudavar, Geneva, Switzerland (by 2014), by descent; to her son Abolala Soudavar, Houston, Texas (2014), loan; to Harvard Art Museums, 2015.

Ezzat-Malek Soudavar (1913-2014) formed this collection over a period of sixty years. She purchased the works of art on the international art market.

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Loan from A. Soudavar in memory of his mother Ezzat-Malek Soudavar
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art

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The manuscript opens with a double-page frontispiece (ff. 2v-3r), each containing an illuminated roundel, providing the name of the poet and the titles of his collective works in this volume. The titles are written in riqāʿ script in white.
The text begins with a foreword marked with a richly illuminated sarlawh on f. 3v, in which the author, who names himself 'Alī b. Aḥmad b. Abū Nasr b. Bīstūn, describes the reason for copying the Kulliyyāt in the current order. The text is copied in nastaʿlīq script in two text panels: the main one with horizontal lines and a side panel with diagonal lines. The longer one is 16 horizontal lines to a page and the shorter one is 10 diagonal lines to a page on the side.
All the folios are remargined, including the two beginning roundels, which were mounted on paper at a later time.

There are 14 illuminated headings and 9 large size illustrations in Safavid style. Each section begins with a sarlawh or heading and ends with a colophon. The final colophon page is missing and replaced later.
The brown leather binding with a flap is decorated with cloud-band patterns on gilt-stamped centre and corners pieces and pendants on the outside cover. The inside covers in burgundy leather are decorated with filigree center and corner pieces and pendants over blue ground. On the flap spine there are three cartouches with floral decorations.

Related Works

Verification Level

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