ABU’L-FAŻL B. FAŻLALLĀH MAJD-AL-DĪN MOḤAMMAD SĀVAJĪ (1248-1312/1832-95), a scholar, calligrapher, poet, and physician active in Qajar court circles. His father had moved to Tehran from Sāva, but his family was descended from Ḥasan Khan Šāmlū, the Safavid governor of Herat under Shah ʿAbbās I and Shah Ṣafī. Abu’l-Fażl was precocious, attaining renown as a poet, calligrapher, and physician by the age of twenty-three. In calligraphy he used the cursive styles popular in the period: nastaʿlīq, taʿlīq, and šekasta. Extant examples of his work are dated between 1261/1845 and 1286/1869-70 (Bayānī, Ḵᵛošnevīsān, pp. 29-32).
His exact position at the Qajar court is uncertain, but Abu’l-Fażl was associated with both Moḥammad Shah and Nāṣer-al-dīn Shah. In 1261/1845 he copied a work written by Moḥammad Shah (ibid., p. 31). During Nāṣer-al-dīn’s reign Abu’l-Fażl belonged to the group of scholars compiling the Nāma-ye dānešvarān-e Nāṣerī, published 1296-1323/1879-1905 (Browne, Press and Poetry, pp. 164-66). The former Imperial Library (Ketābḵāna-ye Salṭanatī) contains a manuscript of that works’ sixth volume copied by Abu’l-Fażl in 1310/1883-84 (Bayānī, op. cit., p. 30). Abu’l-Fażl also designed inscriptions for projects sponsored by various Qajars in Tehran, Ray, and Qom, including the Bāb-e Homāyūn in Tehran and the Qanāt-e Nāṣerī in Qom (ibid., pp. 30-31).
A published example of his work, in nastaʿlīq script, shows that Abu’l-Fażl followed traditions laid down by calligraphers active during the reign of Shah ʿAbbās I, such as his ancestor Ḥasan Khan Šāmlū or the renowned Mīr ʿEmād Ḥosaynī (Īrānī, Ḵaṭṭ va ḵaṭṭāṭān, p. 106; Fażāʾelī, Aṭlas-e ḵaṭṭ, pp. 531, 547).
Bāmdād, Reǰāl I, p. 54.
ʿA. Īrānī, Peydāyeš-e ḵaṭṭ va ḵaṭṭāṭān, Tehran, 1346 Š./1966-67, p. 776.
Ḥ. Fażāʾelī, Aṭlas-e ḵaṭṭ, Isfahan, 1391/1971-72.
(P. P. Soucek)
Originally Published: December 15, 1983
Last Updated: July 21, 2011
This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 3, pp. 290-291
P. P. Soucek, “ABU’L-FAŻL SĀVAJĪ,” Encyclopædia Iranica, I/3, pp. 290-291; an updated version is available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/abul-fazl-b (accessed on 31 January 2014).