Verses From The Divan By Hafiz (Recto And Verso); Folio From A Manuscript, Left-Hand Side Of A Bifolio
recto © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Identification and Creation
Object Number
1984.750.2
Title
Verses from the Divan by Hafiz (recto and verso); folio from a manuscript, left-hand side of a bifolio
Other Titles
Series/Book Title: Divan of Hafiz
Classification
Manuscripts
Work Type
manuscript folio
Date
c. 1530
Places
Creation Place: Middle East, Iran, Tabriz
Period
Safavid period
Culture
Persian
Location
Level 2, Room 2550, Art from Islamic Lands
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Physical Descriptions
Medium
Ink, opaque watercolor and gold on paper
Dimensions
sight: 29.2 x 18.2 cm (11 1/2 x 7 3/16 in.)
Provenance
Welch family (by 1984), gift; to Harvard University Art Museums, 1984.
Aquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of the Welch Family in memory of Philip Hofer
Accession Year
1984
Object Number
1984.750.2
Division
Asian and Mediterranean Art
Contact
am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu
Descriptions

Label Text: Recent Acquisitions , written 1986
Double Page Frontispiece from a Divan of Hafiz
Iran, Safavid, Tabriz, ca. 1526–27
Ink, opaque watercolor and gold on paper
Gift of the Welch Family in memory of Philip Hofer
1984.750
Among the most spectacular recent gifts is the double page frontispiece from a celebrated copy of the Divan of Hafiz. Probably produced in the city of Herat for Sam Mirza, the brother of the second Safavid ruler, Shah Tahmasp (r. 1525–76), the manuscript contains some of the most celebrated masterpieces of Persian miniature painting. Its frontispiece, which is written in elegantly proportioned nasta'liq script and surrounded by fields of lapis lazuli sumptuously illuminated with floral arabesques, combines Persian reverence for calligraphy an d luxuriously painted surfaces.

Label Text: Sacred Symbols of Islam, written 1980
Iran, Safavid, ca. 1526-27
Double-page frontispiece from the Divan of Hafiz.
Private Collection TL 21022.23

Perhaps the most renowned lyrics in Persian are these of Hafiz:
Sweet maid, if thou would'st charm my sight,
And bid these arms thy neck infold;
That rosy cheek, that lily hand,
Would give thy poet more delight
Than all Bocara’s vaunted gold,
Than all the gems of Samarcand.

Label Text: Eyes to the East: Indian, Persian, and Turkish Art Given by Harvard Graduates, written 1990
Frontispiece (Unwan)
From the Divan (Collected Works) of Hafiz
Persia, Safavid Tabriz, ca. 1527
Ink and opaque watercolor on paper
Gift of Stuart Cary Welch, Jr. (Class of 1950), Edith Welch (Radcliffe Class of 1950), and Thomas Welch (Class of 1979) in memory of Philip Hofer
1984.750

Label Text: The Ottomans and their Contemporaries, written 1992
Frontispiece
From a Divan (Poetical Anthology) of Hafiz
Iran, Tabriz, Safavid, ca. 1527
Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper
Gift of the Welch Family in honor of Philip Hofer
1984.750

Label Text: The Heavenly Court: Persian Poetry and Painting, written 1985
28. Double Page Frontispiece from a Divan of Hafiz
Iran, Isfahan, ca.1526–27
Gift – the Welch family in memory of Philip Hofer 1984.750

The celebrated first ghazal of the Divan adorns this magnificent page:
O cup bearer! Pour a cup and drink it.
Love seems easy at first, yet trials befall thereafter.
The morning breeze unfolds her locks with musty scent
The hearts of men are slain by her camphored curls.
Wherefore my sheltered pleasures in the beloved’s nest,
As caravan-leaders cry: ‘Break down the standing tents!’
Bathe thy cloak in wine if the Magi master tells you,
For the seeker knows the stations’ trails and traditions
Dark is the night, dreadful the waves, wheeling the maelstrom,
How shall carefree men on shores ever discern our plight.
Wilfullness has at last brought disrepute upon my deeds.
A secret that breeds coteries never remains concealed.
Hafiz, if you yearn to see, remove your veil before Him.
At the sight of what you sought, forsake the world and take it.

The central poem is one of the most celebrated ghazals of the Divan:
Joseph long lost will return to Canaan, grieve no more.
The den of woes will turn into a rose garden, grieve no more.
O afflicted heart, you shall heal again, do not despair,
This disheveled mind shall come to be restored, grieve no more.
When the spring of life shall spread afresh on meadows,
O sweet song-bird the rose shall shelter you, grieve no more.
Though the wheel of Fortune turned no our way these rounds,
The round of times stays not unchanging, grieve no more.
Do not despair, you do not know the mysteries of the unseen,
Many a secret game unfolds behind the veil, grieve no more.
Should the deluge of oblivion consume the source of life.
With Noah commanding your ship, fear not the tempest, grieve no more.
And if yearning for the Ka’ba, you tread upon the desert,
When thorns and thistles take you to task, grieve no more.
Though the station be perilous, the harbor out of sight,
There is no path to which there is no end, grieve no more.

Label Text: Geometry of the Spirit: Islamic Illumination and Calligraphy, written 1988
Frontispiece from a Divan (Collected Works) of Hafiz
Iran, Tabriz, Safavid, ca. 1526 – 7
Ink and opaque watercolor on paper
Gift of the Welch family in memory of Philip Hofer
1984.750

Label Text: Divinely Inspired: Images of Mystics and Mendicants, written 1999
Frontispiece from the Divan (Collected Works) of Hafiz
Iran (Tabriz), Safavid period, c. 1525-3 0
Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper
Gift of the Welch Family in Memory of Philip Hofer
1984.750

Exhibition History

The Heavenly Court: Persian Poetry and Painting, Harvard University Art Museums, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 02/09/1985 - 03/31/1985

Recent Acquisitions , Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/15/1986 - 01/04/1987

Geometry of the Spirit: Islamic Illumination and Calligraphy, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 04/30/1988 - 06/26/1988

Eyes to the East: Indian, Persian, and Turkish Art Given by Harvard Graduates, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 09/22/1990 - 11/25/1990

The Ottomans and their Contemporaries, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 03/21/1992 - 05/17/1992

Divinely Inspired: Images of Mystics and Mendicants, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 01/16/1999 - 03/29/1999

Related Works
Verification Level

3 - Good. Object is well described and information is vetted