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Ink on marbled paper
Page: 30.4 x 18.5 cm (11 15/16 x 7 5/16 in.)
Gift in honor of Madeline Neves Clapp; Gift of Mrs. Henry White Cannon by exchange; Bequest of Louise T. Cooper; Leonard C. Hanna Jr. Fund; From the Catherine and Ralph Benkaim Collection 2013.330.b
Ibrahim Adil Shah II was a visionary ruler in the southern territories of the Deccan between 1580 and 1627 with his court based in the city of Bijapur. He maintained independence from Mughal encroachments from the north and fostered a distinctive culture infused with mystical Sufi ideals and a distinctive blending of Hindu and Islamic elements.
This work of calligraphy is a verse composed by Ibrahim Adil Shah II that exemplifies his love of music and poetry. Normally a Hindu court tradition, ragamalas, or musical modes, were recast by Ibrahim Adil Shah in the local Dakhini language and incorporated into his Islamic milieu. The spectacular marbling on which the verse is written in Arabic script is a characteristic of the Deccan, where marbling was prized for its mysterious and random beauty. Mounted on an imperial Mughal album page with an image of the Hindu ruler Ram Singh on the verso, the placement of this Deccani calligraphy may have functioned as a tribute to Ram Singh’s father, who served the Mughal emperor in the Deccan from 1659 until 1666.
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