Haft Awrang

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Illustration from Chain of Gold
Zulaykha Enters the Capital of Egypt
Yousof-o Zoleikha
Illustration from Salaman and Absal

Haft Awrang (Persian: هفت اورنگ‎, meaning "Seven Thrones") by the Persian poet Jami is a classic of Persian literature composed some time between 1468 and 1485. Jami completed the work as seven books following a masnavi format:

  • "Selselat adh-dhahab" (سلسلة الذهب, "Chain of Gold"): a collection of didactic anecdotes
  • "Yusof-o Zulaikhā" (یوسف و زلیخا, "Joseph and Zulaikha"): the romance of Joseph and Zulaikha, wife of Potiphar based on the Islamic traditions.
  • "Sabhat al-abrār" (سبحة الابرار, "Rosary of the Pious"): another collection of didactic anecdotes
  • "Salaman-o Absāl" (سلامان و ابسال, Salaman and Absal): A doomed romance between a prince and his nursemaid. The original story is Greek, translated in the early Islamic times to Arabic by Ibn Hunain and then rendered into Persian poem by Jami. Dehkhoda suggests this story might have an Israelite origin.
  • "Tohfat ol-ahrār (تحفة الاحرار, "Gift of the Free")
  • "Layli-o Majnun" (لیلی و مجنون, "Layla and Majnun")
  • "Kheradnāma-i Eskandari" (خردنامهٔ اسکندری, "Alexander's Book of Wisdom") account of events leading up to Alexander's death.

The term Haft Awrang itself is a reference to seven stars that form the Big Dipper (the Plough or دب اکبر).

Religion, philosophy, and ethics of Sufi origin lie at the root of all seven masnavis.

Freer Jami[edit]

Between 1556 and 1565, while he was governing Mashad, Prince Sultan Ibrahim Mirza, nephew and son-in-law of Shah Tahmasp I, commissioned his own atelier of painters and calligraphers to create a sumptuous illustrated version of the Haft Awrang, producing one of the undoubted masterpieces of the Persian miniature, now in the Freer Gallery of Art, and known as the Freer Jami.


  • Simpson, J.R.R. Marianna Shreve (1997). Sultan Ibrahim Mirza's Haft Awrang: A Princely Manuscript from Sixteenth-Century Iran. Yale University Press. hardback: ISBN 978-0-300-06802-3

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