Mírzá Ahmad Khoshnevis Nayrizi

Mirzá Ahmad Khoshnevis, the son of Shamsaddin Muhammad Nayrizi, was born in 1682 in the Mahaleh Sadat district of the city of Nayriz. He was a celebrated calligrapher and the most notable of the 18th century in Iran for his highly developed use of the elegant and visually powerful Naskhi style of calligraphy. Examples of his hand written Qur'áns and other writings are kept in museums around the world. Golestan Museum in Tihrán holds most of the 90 to 120 Qur'áns attributed to him.

His calligraphy works are frequently seen at auction today at Christies, and other fine auctions online, fetching high prices in particular for his Qur'áns containing the use of heavily illuminated Qajar borders on every page. His style is known for having well formed letters; with vowels being weighted the same as consonants. In addition to the Qur'áns, he completed over 70 major works and many other smaller tablets. There are numerous accounts of his life and art both in Persian and English including an extensive biography of Mirzá Ahmad Nayrizi in the Encyclopaedia of Islamic Culture.

Mirzá Ahmad Nayrizi received his basic education and training in the religious schools in the city of Nayriz. At the beginning of the 18th century he moved to the city of Isfahan, the capitol of Iran during the rein of Sháh Sulaymán Safavi. There he was welcomed to the court of the Sháh, receiving great acclaim and affection. He is known to have created works for the royalty for at least two decades under Sháh Sulaymán Safavi and Sháh Sultán Husayn, from whom he received the surname “al-Sultáni”.

Mirzá Ahmad Nayrizi reportedly accumulated a large amount of wealth from his art. Known as a pious man and being of the nature to follow a simple life, he spent most of his wealth to help the poor. Conflicting reports place his death at Karbala, or Nayriz and still others at Isfahan, around the year 1722. A beautiful memorial centre was built and a statue erected in Nayriz in his honour, as part of the national heritage.

He had several children and grand children. Among them was his grand daughter Bibi Bigum who married Mirzá Husayn Shallfurush from Nayriz. They had a son named for his great-grandfather, Mirzá Ahmad Vahidi, who is my grandfather.

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