ANĪS AL-ʿOŠŠĀQ, a small handbook of the imagery traditionally used in Persian love poetry, by Ḥasan b. Moḥammad Šaraf-al-dīn Rāmī (sometimes Zāmī), d. 795/1393. It was dedicated to the Jalayrid Shaikh Oways I (r. 757-76/1356-74). Browne’s passing reference to the date of composition as 826/1423 (Lit. Hist. Persia III, p. 462), apparently following Ḥāǰǰī Ḵalīfa, is certainly wrong, and is contradicted by his own more substantial remarks (Lit. Hist. Persia II, p. 83). The work treats, in nineteen short bābs, of the beloved’s hair, forehead, eyebrows, eyes, lashes, countenance, facial hair, beauty spots, lips, teeth, mouth, chin, neck, bosom, arms, fingers, statute, waist, and legs. Each of these parts of the body is defined with the various terms used in Persian and Arabic, distinctions being drawn between them where necessary; then the appropriate metaphors, similes, and epithets are given for each case, and illustrative quotations are offered from a variety of poets. As might be expected of the period in question, the procedure is largely descriptive and mechanical, with no attempt at sophisticated analysis or esoteric interpretation in the modern manner. But the work is useful in its compactness and in the authority it brings from the period of highest poetic achievement. Such treatises are unfortunately not common, for the tradition was too well known to need extensive documentation, and some, notably the Nāmūs-e akbar of Żīāʾ-al-dīn Naḵšabī (d. 751/1350), are “spoiled” by prolixity and bombast. Rāmī was a poet in his own right and the author of a major work on poetic figures and conceits, the Ḥaqāʾeq al-ḥadāʾeq (ed. S. M. Kāẓem Emām, Tehran, 1341 Š./1962).
The work has been very little copied and printed. The best known edition is by ʿA. Eqbāl Āštīānī, Tehran, 1325 Š./1946.
A French translation was made by Cl. Huart, Anis-eḷʿOchchāq, Traite′ des termes figurés relatifs à la beauté (Bibliothèque de l’Ēcole des Hautes Ētudes, fasc. 25, 1875).
The latter was reviewed in JA, 1876, pp. 588-91.
See also Dawlatšāh, ed. Browne, pp. 308-09.
Ṣafā, Adabīyāt III, pp. 1313-15.
(G. M. Wickens)
Originally Published: December 15, 1985
Last Updated: August 5, 2011
This article is available in print.
Vol. II, Fasc. 1, p. 76