Illuminated Folio (recto) from a Gulistan (Rose Garden) of Sa'di (c. 1213-1291)

Illuminated Folio (recto) from a Gulistan (Rose Garden) of Sa'di (c. 1213-1291)

c. 1475–1500, borders added c. 1550

Part of a set. See all set records

Sultan Ali Mashhadi

(Iranian, 1520)

Opaque watercolor, ink, gold, and silver on paper

Overall: 30 x 19 cm (11 13/16 x 7 1/2 in.); Text area: 16.1 x 9.6 cm (6 5/16 x 3 3/4 in.)

Gift of William Kelly Simpson in memory of his wife Marilyn M. Simpson and her grandparents Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller, Jr. 2006.148.a



The Gulistan, completed around 1258, is one of the most celebrated works of Persian literature. The book’s name means “rose garden” in Persian; just as a rose garden is a collection of flowers, the contents are a collection of anecdotes. Written in both prose and verse, the Gulistan was used for centuries as a primer for schoolchildren in greater Iran, India, and Turkey. The text on these pages is written in nastaliq script and comes from the first chapter, “On the Conduct of Kings.”

The exquisite borders of these two folios show lions, dragons, foxes, and peacocks in a lush landscape, painted in gold and silver that has tarnished over time.

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