This calligraphic fragment includes a ruba'i (iambic pentameter quatrain), composed by the famous Persian poet Ḥāfiẓ (died 1388−89, 791 AH). The verses use 'irfani (mystical) terms to urge the exculpation of the beloved's faults: “If from the hand of your musky tress, a fault is passed, passed / And if against us from their dark mole, an act of tyranny is passed, passed / If there is no (mystical) sect for memory's indignation, bring wine / Every foulness that you see (as) purity is passed, passed.” The text is written in black nasta'liq script typical of calligraphic works produced in India during the 19th century. Drawing on the creative potential of the script, the calligrapher has chosen to superimpose certain letters in each line, thereby creating three columns of overlaid letters repeated over the four lines of text. The visual effect is balanced and artistic. Although the calligraphic piece is not signed, a later note on the fragment's verso attributes the piece to a certain Hafiz Ibrahim. If this attribution is accepted, Hafiz Ibrahim appears to have been a calligrapher in the nasta'liq script active in India during the 19th century.
Calligrapher: Ibrahim, Hafiz
Place: Central and South Asia; India
Institution: Library of Congress
Physical description: 33.5 x 20.7 centimeters