This illuminated manuscript in hand-painted lacquer binding does not simply contain a collection, in a beautiful Arabic manuscript, of the verse of the celebrated fourteenth-century Persian poet Khwāja Šamsu d-Dīn Muḥammad Hāfez-e Šīrāzī, known as Hafiz—it is also an incredible work of art. The poems of Hafiz, many of them ghazals celebrating earthly and divine love, were so well-regarded that many copies of his Divān were created over the centuries after his death.

This gorgeous copy from the nineteenth century comes from the library of the renowned British bookbinder Francis Bedford, and was probably rebound and decorated by him. The lacquer covers feature a lush arrangement of hand-painted pink and yellow flowers on the outside and bouquets of irises on the inside.

spine of book Diwan Hafiz