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ʿAttar conversing in a courtyard

ʿAttar conversing in a courtyard

From a manuscript of a work attributed to Gazurgahi, Majalis al-ʿUshshaq (Meetings of lovers), dated AH 959 (1552 AD)

Bodleian Library, University of Oxford, MS Ouseley Add 24, fol 65v

The Majalis al-ʿUshshaq (Meetings of lovers) is a work that originated at the late-15th-century Timurid court of Sultan Husayn in Herat, eastern Iran. The text examines mystical love as it’s portrayed in the great romantic stories of Persian literature, such as that of Yusuf and Zulaykha.

The underlying theme is personal and spiritual transformation resulting from earthly attachment evolving into love of the Divine. The work includes accounts of alleged episodes from the worldly love of 76 famous mystics, legendary heroes and royal figures.

This copy is one of many made in the artisan workshops of Shiraz during the 16th century to meet commercial demand outside Iran, especially in Ottoman Turkey.