Pearls of the Parrot of India: The Walters Art Museum Khamsa of Amir Khusraw of Delhi

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9780911886511: Pearls of the Parrot of India: The Walters Art Museum Khamsa of Amir Khusraw of Delhi
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Amir Khusraw Dihlawi (1253-1325) was one of the most famous Mughal poets of the Indian subcontinent and the self-styled "Parrot of India." His "pearls" of poetry are sumptuously seen here in his Khamsa, one of the most admired texts in the Islamic world. This magnificent copy marks the culmination of the development of the deluxe Mughal manuscript in the 1590s. The writing of the Walters Khamsa fell to the most highly esteemed calligrapher of the day, Muhammad Jusayn al-Kashmiri, then at the zenith of his career. The Khamsa must have been understood at several different levels at the Mughal court. For some, it was a stellar work of literature. Others undoubtedly saw the manuscript as a repository of visual art, captivated by the sophistication of the calligraphy and the brilliance of the paintings. Still others found this book a bibliographic gem, a precious object to hold and behold.

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John Seyller is professor of art at the University of Vermont.

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