FARĪD KĀTEB, scribe active in Shiraz in the 10th/16th century. He is known exclusively through signed works. The most famous is a fine manuscript of Solṭān Ḥosayn Mīrzā’s Majāles al-ʿoššāq in the Bodleian Library, Oxford (Ouseley Add. 24). The colophon is signed Farīd al-Kāteb and dated Ḏu’l-Ḥejja 959 /October-November 1552, and the fine nastaʿlīq calligraphy is embellished with a richly illuminated frontspiece and 74 (originally 75) paintings in the typical Shiraz style that have been assigned to three different artists (see Guest, pls. XXXIII, XLV, XLVI and XLVIII; Robinson, pl. XIV; Stchoukine, Safavis, no. 116, pls. XXXVIII and XXXIX). The scribe’s name Farīd (peerless) is a play-on-words reflecting his status. He may be related to the person named Farīdī who signed a manuscript of Neẓāmī’s Ḵamsa in 940/1534 (Copenhagen, Kunstindustimuseum) that is illustrated with 23 paintings in typical Shiraz style (Robinson, p. 120). Someone styling himself al-ʿAbd Farīd (the servant Farīd) signed a manuscript of Jāmī’s Sobḥat al-abrār copied in 950/1543-44 (MS Tehran, Library of Solṭān-al-Qorrāʾī; see Bayānī, Ḵošnevīsān, no. 761, p. 570). The most complete signature, al-ʿAbd Farīd Kāteb-e Šīrāzī, occurs on an updated page from an album with his own poems (ibid). Assuming all these specimens are by the same hand, then Farīd was active for some twenty years in Shiraz, where he participated in the provincial school of manuscript illustration that flourished there in the 16th century.


Bibliography (for cited works not given in detail, see “Short References”):

G. Guest, Shiraz Painting in the Sixteenth Century, Washington, D.C., 1949, no. 31, p. 61.

B. W. Robinson, A Descriptive Catalogue of the Persian Paintings in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, 1958, p. 97.

(Sheila S. Blair)

Originally Published: December 15, 1999

Last Updated: December 15, 1999