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Posthumous portrait of the Persian poet Hafiz of Sheraz (cira 1325 - 1389), holding a Chinese blue and white porcelain wine flask. Deccan, circa 1770. (The reverse with text dated 1727.) Opaque watercolour with gold on wasli. 18.3 x 11.2cm
The inscription above reads: 'His Majesty Hafiz from Shiraz'.
On the reverse the poem reads:
To view the crescent moon of Eid, swift and abrupt,
That beauty stepped up to the roof and gazed to left and right.
All the onlookers sang Hallelujah, uttering this thought:
Sun has risen here to look for Moon, this night!
The Sufi poetry of Hafiz achieved enduring popularity from the time it was written to today, not only in Persian speaking countries but also in the West by its many translations. This stems from the manner in which he changed the poetic form of the ghazal which had become popular through its recurring motifs of love and - note what he holds in the painting - wine (these being anologies of devotion to god and spiritual intoxication) but which he made less formal and more accessible by use of proverbs, colloquialisms and the vernacular. By doing so he removed this poetry from the preserve of the educated elite.
Ref: Deccan Hafiz 87-41011
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Above: gilt detail catching light
All images and text © Peter Blohm