ʿABD-AL-RAḤMĀN KᵛĀRAZMĪ, calligrapher specializing in nastaʿlīq, active during the middle decades of the 9th/15th century. His earliest known work is dated to 839/1436 and his latest to 866/1462. During this period he resided first in Shiraz and then in Baghdad. The Turkish historian Moṣṭafā-ʿAlī claims that ʿAbd-al-Raḥmān lived until 886/1481 and was in the employ of Yaʿqūb b. Ḥasan Āq Qoyonlū, but this statement does not appear to be supported by other evidence and may derive from a confusion of ʿAbd-al-Raḥmān with his son ʿAbd-al-Raḥīm, who was a close associate of Yaʿqūb Āq Qoyonlū. The epithet Ḵᵛārazmī suggests that either ʿAbd-al-Raḥmān or his family came from Ḵᵛārazm, but few details of his background are known. In one colophon he gives the names of his father and grandfather as Moḥammad and Esmāʿīl respectively and in another prefaces his own name with the title ʿEmād-al-dīn (Istanbul, Topkapi Saray Library, Hazine 773; Leiden University Library, Cod. Or. 494). His sons ʿAbd-al-Raḥīm and ʿAbd-al-Karīm both achieved recognition as calligraphers and poets.

The style of nastaʿlīq used by ʿAbd-al-Raḥmān appeared in Shiraz ca 1430 and remained dominant for a generation. While clearly related to the nastaʿlīq script used by Jaʿfar Tabrīzī and other Timurid court calligraphers in Herat, it has a distinctive canon of proportion which produces and angular and staccato rhythm. Qāżī Aḥmad credits ʿAbd-al-Raḥmān with use of a distinctive script, but surviving manuscripts show that other scribes working in Shiraz, such as Moḥammad Solṭānī and ʿEmād Ḵabbāz Abarqūhī, wrote in a similar fashion. It is not known whether ʿAbd-al-Raḥmān worked for the Timurid rulers of Shiraz, but, from inscriptions in a manuscript of 860/1456 now in Istanbul (Türk ve Islam Eserleri Müzesi no. 1562), it appears that he served Pīr Būdāq b. Jahānšāh Qara Qoyonlū in Shiraz. Another manuscript copied by ʿAbd-al-Raḥmān in Baghdad in 866/1462 suggests that he may have accompanied Pīr Būdāq during his exile in that city. The career of ʿAbd-al-Raḥmān Ḵᵛārazmī links the Timurid and Qara Qoyonlū periods in western Iran. His personal style of calligraphy shows both the impact of the taste of Herat and certain special qualities which led to the formation of a regional school of calligraphy in Shiraz and the surrounding area.


Primary sources: Qāżī Aḥmad, tr., p. 100.

Qāżī Mīr Aḥmad Monšī Qomī, Golestān-e honar, ed. A. Ḵᵛānsārī, Tehran, 1352 Š./1973, p. 57.

Secondary sources: Bayānī, Ḵošnevīsān II, pp. 378-80.

B. Gray, “A Newly Discovered Nizami of the Timurid School,” East and West N. S. 14, 1963, pp. 220-23.

Karatay, Kataloğ, nos. 400, 408.

Robinson, Persian Paintings, p. 23.

A. Sakisian, La miniature persane du XVIIe siècle, Paris, 1929, p. 35.

(P. P. Soucek)

Originally Published: December 15, 1982

Last Updated: July 14, 2011

This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 2, p. 147

Cite this entry:

P. P. Soucek, “'Abd-Al-Rahman Karazmi,” Encyclopædia Iranica, I/2, p. 147; an updated version is available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/abd-al-rahman-karazmi (accessed on 16 January 2014).