This two-tiered wooden panel, divided into six sections, closely resembles carved thuluth inscriptions from Mazandaran, a northern province of Iran. Two published examples bear the signatures of two sons of a master carpenter, Ustad Ahmad-i Sari. One is dated 1468 and signed by Husayn, son of Ustad Ahmad (Welch 1979, pp. 130-31); the other is dated 1494 and signed by Shams al-Din, son of Ustad Ahmad (Bivar and Yarshater 1978, pl. 65). Even if this panel is not the work of one of these woodcarvers, the examples share the manner in which vertical letters rise and intersect letters above the text line and words within each panel are written on two levels, lower and upper. Unlike the comparative examples, however, this panel contains verses by the celebrated poet Hafiz (d. 1389-90): First register: “In the eyes and brows of my beloved I confided heart and soul Come, come contemplate the arch and the window! Say to the guardian of paradise: the dust of this meeting place [...]” Second register: “ [...] do not falter in your task, pour the wine into the cup! Beyond your hedonism, your love for moon-faced beings, Amongst the tasks that you accomplish, recite the poem of Hafiz!” (trans. C.-H. de Fouchécour 2006, p. 971-72). As the panel is fragmentary, it may have been part of a frieze that ran around the walls of a room. Despite being poetic and not religious, the inscription may have come from one of the many shrines in Mazandaran with carved wood decoration.
Source: Aga Khan Museum
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