8vo., (11 3/8 x 7 3/8 inches). 323 leaves, each folio with 15 lines of thin black shikasteh script arranged in two columns, further text written diagonally within marginal panels, each divided with blue-ruled liquid gold frames, some words in red, including numerous finely illuminated headpieces and cartouches, many heightened in liquid gold (one or two minor marginal tears). Contemporary Qajar lacquer binding, the covers decorated with flowers inside and out (rebacked with black morocco, endpapers renewed).
Provenance: from the library of Jacques Levy, his sale, Sotheby's, 20th April 2012, lot 289
Identified as the poetry of Diwan de Saadi by a previous cataloguer, this is a beautiful manuscript, illuminated with a number of exquisite headlines and cartouches. Saadi was one of the major Persian poets of the medieval period, and is widely recognized as one of the greatest poets of the classical literary tradition. His best known works are the Bostan (The Orchard) and the Golestan (The Rose Garden). The Bostan is entirely in verse (epic metre) and consists of stories aptly illustrating the standard virtues recommended to Muslims (justice, liberality, modesty, contentment) as well as of reflections on the behaviour of dervishes and their ecstatic practices. The Golestan is mainly in prose and contains stories and personal anecdotes. The text is interspersed with a variety of short poems, containing aphorisms, advice, and humorous reflections. Saadi demonstrates a profound awareness of the absurdity of human existence. The fate of those who depend on the changeable moods of kings is contrasted with the freedom of the dervishes. (Iranchamber online). Catalogued by Kate Hunter