VIRTUAL COLLECTION OF ASIAN MASTERPIECES

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Munajat of Al-Ansari
1999.2801
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

This piece is considered a masterpiece because the calligraphy was done by Mir ‘Imad al-Hasani, one of the greatest masters of the nasta‘liq script. Many artefacts are defined as masterpieces by the fact that they have been worked on by an acknowledged master. Imad 'al-Hasani's works were much admired and valued even during his lifetime. He was a prolific calligrapher as testified by the survival of many of his works in collections worldwide.

History of the Object
This copy of the Munajat has been copied onto 12 folios. The final folio has been signed by ‘Imad al-Hassani, a famous calligrapher. Such calligraphic works are usually bound in albums and collected by connoisseurs. Each folio of this Munajat has been elegantly written with two lines of nasta‘liq script, in between which is a line of kurdah nasta‘liq or tiny nasta‘liq. Nastaliq is a script which is believed to have been invented by another famous calligrapher, MIr 'Ali Tabrizi (d. 1416). Legend has it that 'Ali (Prophet Muhammad's son-in-law), appeared in this dream, telling him to study the flying geese. The round sweeping curves of the nasta'liq script reminds one of the wings of a bird. This elegant script is usually used for copying poetry and literary manuscripts. The calligraphy is framed within gold clouds and the whole piece is mounted on blue or turquoise margins which have been delicately illuminated with gold.

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Type
Calligraphy 
Materials
Ink, colours and gold on paper 
Measurements
Folio: 16.7 x 26 cm 
Creator name
‘Imad al-Hassani 
Creator date
(d.1615) 
Where it was made
Iran 
Geography
Iran 
Time period
AD 16th century ~ AD 16th century 
Creation date
16th Century; late 
Function
The Munajat or ‘Prayers’ is a mystical work by an 11th century Sufi, Abu Isma’il Abdullah al-Ansari al-Haravi. This copy was probably read for its mystical poetry and admired for its calligraphy. 
Acquisition
The museum acquired this in 1999 because of the content and also because it was written by a famous calligrapher. 
Copyright
Asian Civilisations Museum, Singapore 
Acknowledgements
Tan Huism 
Owner
Asian Civilisations Museum, Singapore 
Museum
Asian Civilisations Museum 
Credit line
Asian Civilisations Museum, Singapore 

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