Art And Culture

Vesal Commemoration in Shiraz

Vesal Commemoration in ShirazVesal Commemoration in Shiraz

A ceremony to honor the acclaimed 19th century poet and calligrapher, Muhammad Shafi (1779-1846), was organized in Shiraz, the capital of Fars Province on December 30.

Better known as Vesal of Shiraz, an exhibition of 55 calligraphy works to honor him and his six sons, is part of the event, Honaronline reported.

“Every city needs to promote its culture and literature and the Vesal family is the literary identity of Shiraz,” said veteran literary scholar and author Kourosh Kamali Sarvestani.

Head of the provincial National Library and Archives and veteran calligrapher, Omid Banakar said such veneration ceremonies should be encouraged as they shed light on “several unknown aspects about the progeny of well-known personalities.”

Vesal of Shiraz pioneered a new movement in art, using ‘Nastaliq’, ‘Shekasteh Nastaliq’ (literally broken ‘Nastaliq’, a different style in calligraphy), ‘Naskh’ and ‘Sols’ (Persian and Arabic scripts), and his house was a  congregation place for artists, Banakar noted.

Muhammad Shafi is among the most celebrated and prolific calligraphers and poets of the Qajar period. He descended from a line of scribes who served at the local courts of the Safavids (who ruled 7th century Persia), Afshar (Persian dynasty founded in 1736), and Zand (18th century) rulers.

He was proficient in seven scripts, particularly in Naskhi (create in 9th century) and Nasta’liq (developed in 8th and 9th centuries). He is known to have written over 60 Qur’ans in his lifetime, as well as manuscripts of other texts.

He specialized in the revival of Naskhi in the style of Safavid calligraphers. According to ancient religious scholars and thinkers such as Ibrahim Qumi and Ahmad Nairizi, Vesal was considered the undisputed master of the revival of Naskhi in Iran.

Vesal’s six children, namely Mirza Ahmad (1816-1872) known as Vaqar, Mahmoud (1818-1849) known as Hakim, Mirza Abolqasem (1826-1891) known as Farhang, Mohammad (1822-1867) known as Davari, Mirza Mohammad Esmaeil (1820-1869) known as Tohid, and Abdolvahhab (unknown-1910) known as Yazdani, were prominent poets and calligraphers whose valuable works of art have been displayed along with Vesal’s.

The exhibition will run through January 7 at Jam Art Gallery located at No. 225, 7th St., New Qur’an Ave., Shiraz, Fars Province.