© The Aga Khan Museum
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Sa‘di, a renowned figure in classical Persian literature, is recognized for his poetry as well as his prose texts. Born in Shiraz, Iran, the poet’s takhallus (signature) as Sa‘di is a reflection of his devotion to Sa‘d b. Zangi (r. 1231–60), ruler of Fars.
In this folio, Zulaykha and Yusuf, whose love would be immortalized by more than a dozen Persian poets, sit together in an inner room of a busy palace with an idol in a wall niche. When illustrating interior scenes, it was common for Mughal artists to show various architectural layers in a vertical format to give the illusion of depth. This approach allows the viewer to see the outside of the palace complex and parts of its interior at the same time.