The text of the poem praises the season of spring, with mystical undertones. The Persian verses are written from right to left in the cursive form of Arabic script known as nasta‘liq. “It is springtime friends! Time to nurse the carnal wants: Wine, a minstrel, a pretty face, a secluded corner in a garden. What would I have done given my lack of means, If my heart did not have a cure for searing longings? My heart derives from the bounteous Sea of Compassion Its self-abnegating otherworldliness, an ever-radiant night glowing gem.” The poem may be related to the painting of the African musician on the other side, subtly perpetuating the stereotypical association of African men with lustful desires, music, and dance.

Ink on paper, six lines of Persian poetry, verso


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Cleveland Museum of Art

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