Meaning “rose bush” in Persian, the Gulistan is a collection of anecdotes in both verse and prose.
The border scene is set in a magical forest bursting with blossoms. At the top, a winged lion chases a winged deer, who is caught in the bottom border. The imagery of a lion biting down on its prey dates from the Achaemenid period in Iran (550–330 BCE) and references the valor of the king. A fox scurries off to the right.
The verse is written in the Persian language using nastaliq script. Sultan ‘Ali Mashadi was widely renowned for perfecting the nastaliq script, and his calligraphy was a model for many followers across the Islamic world.
Illuminated folio (verso) from a Gulistan (Rose Garden) of Sa'di (c. 1213–1291)
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