Gulshan-i 'Ishq (Rose Garden of Love)
Artist/maker unknown, Indian
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The Gulshan-i Ishq was written in 1657–58 by Nusrati, court poet to Sultan Ali Adil Shah II of Bijapur. The poem’s more than 4,500 double verses in Deccani Urdu, the language of the Muslim elite in South-Central India, are written in elegant Persian naskh script. The principal story—one of connection, separation, longing, and final union of lovers—is borrowed from a North Indian Hindu love story and recast in mystical Sufi garb, with the lovers standing as a metaphor for the soul’s relationship to the divine. Refined Persian literary devices are infused with the colorful Indian narrative. This superb, complete manuscript contains over ninety illustrations.