Miniature from a copy of Sadi’s Bustan. “The Dervish from Faryab Crosses the River on his Rug,” attributed to Habiballah
Iran, Isfahan; c. 1600-1608
Leaf: 28.5 × 18.5 cm
In his Bustan (The Flower Garden), Sadi described an amazing experience that he had on a ferry. While the author paid for his journey, an old dervish from the town of Faryab did not have the money and was left on the riverbank. As the boat made the crossing, Sadi heard laughter in its wake. It was the dervish, sailing over the river on his prayer rug.
In this rendition, the ferry is shown as a western carrack, with Sadi dressed in a green caftan and standing in the bow. The page comes from a manuscript calligraphed by Mir Ali Haravi in Herat in 1526. At this point, the volume evidently had only a few illustrations, while others were added later in a style in keeping with the original ones.
The richness of detail on this painting harks back in time, though the young man standing next to Sadi is wearing a turban typical of the Shah Abbas period (1571-1629). This shah was responsible for the completion of the manuscript, and the stamp at the top shows that it was donated to the family sanctuary in Ardabil in 1608/1609.
Inv. no. 11/2016