ʿABDĪ NĪŠĀPŪRĪ, also known as ʿABDĪ QALANDAR and ʿABDĪ ŠĀHĪ, calligrapher and poet active in the first half of the 10th/16th century. Writing ca. 957/1550 Sām Mīrzā Ṣafavī mentions that ʿAbdī had died within the last two years (Toḥfa-ye Sāmī, Tehran, 1314 Š./1935, p. 18). Bayānī has disputed this statement, noting that ʿAbdī b. Ḥasan Qalandar copied a page in 996/1588 (Ḵošnevīsān, pp. 424-25). However, it seems that ʿAbdī b. Ḥasan is not to be identified with ʿAbdī Nīšāpūrī. Said to be “from Nīšāpūr,” ʿAbdī was trained in Herat, where he studied calligraphy with Solṭān ʿAlī Mašhadī (Sām Mīrzā, loc. cit.; Moḥammad Faḵrī Herātī, Laṭāʾefnāma, p. 148). Around 928/1521-22, when Moḥammad Faḵrī Herātī composed his supplement to Maǰāles al-nafāʾes, ʿAbdī Qalandar was recognized as both a poet and nastaʿlīq calligrapher (ibid.). If ʿAbdī was still in Herat during 929/1522-23, he must have left soon afterward for Tabrīz, because he executed calligraphy for Shah Esmāʿīl, Bahrām Mīrzā, and Shah Ṭahmāsp. In calligraphy written for or dedicated to members of the Safavid family, ʿAbdī uses the epithet al-Šāhī (Bayānī, pp. 425-26). Qāżī Aḥmad describes ʿAbdī as an intimate associate of Shah Ṭahmāsp (p. 87; tr., p. 134).

As a calligrapher ʿAbdī Nīšāpūrī does not appear to have been prolific. Specimens of his work are known only from albums now in Istanbul libraries. Pages dedicated to Shah Esmāʿīl and Bahrām Mīrzā are found in an album compiled for the latter prince ca. 951/1544-45 (Topkapi Saray Library, Hazine 2154). Poetry and calligraphy dedicated to Shah Ṭahmāsp are found in an album for that ruler (University Library, Istanbul, F. 1422). Further examples are found in albums collected by the calligraphers Aḥmad Mašhadī (d. 976/1568-69) and Mālek Daylamī (d. 969/1561-62; Bayānī, p. 246).

The presence of his work in those important albums demonstrates that ʿAbdī was appreciated in his own day. However, he never attained the high esteem accorded to Solṭān ʿAlī Mašhadī’s other pupils, Moḥammad Abrīšamī, Moḥammad Nūr, or Moḥammad Ḵandān. In an essay composed ca. 951/1544-45, Dūst Moḥammad describes ʿAbdī primarily as the teacher of his nephew, Šāh Maḥmūd Nīšāpūrī (Treatise, pp. 29-30). Sām Mīrzā stresses that Maḥmūd surpassed his uncle in skill (loc. cit.).


Moḥammad Faḵrī Herātī, Laṭāʾefnāma, in Mīr ʿAlī Šīr Navāʾī, Maǰāles al-nafāʾes, ed. Ḥekmat, Tehran, 1323 Š./1954-55, p. 148.

Dūst Moḥammad, A Treatise on Calligraphers and Miniaturists, ed. M. A. Chaghtai, Lahore, 1936.


(P. P. Soucek)

Originally Published: December 15, 1982

Last Updated: July 15, 2011

This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 2, p. 209

Cite this entry:

P. P. Soucek, “Abdi Nisapuri,” Encyclopædia Iranica, I/2, p. 209; an updated version is available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/abdi-nisapuri-16th-century-calligrapher-and-poet (accessed on 21 January 2014).