Vessal Shirazi is the family name of one of the deep-rooted artist families in Shiraz. The lineage of the family can be traced back to the Safavid era. From that time on, some members of the family held royal court positions and even achieved positions such as the head of tax affairs and secretary at the courts of Nader Shah Afshar and Karim Khan Zand. However, the most important and prominent member of Vesal Shirazi family was Mirza Mohammad Shafi'i (1126-1262 AH). He was nicknamed "Mirza Kuchak" and used the nom de plume of "Vessal" in his literary works. Vessal was the name given to him by Abolghasem Sokoot, one of the great mystics of Shiraz, and has remained for the family until now.
Mirza Kuchak Vesal studied mysticism, literature, theology, mathematics, and music. He was a gifted poet and was proficient in various scripts of Persian calligraphy, particularly in Naskh. He was also skillful in the fields related to book layout such as tabulation, illuminating manuscripts, and painting. Mirza Kuchak Vessal also played a significant role in the education and development of art in Shiraz and trained calligraphers such as Fath Ali Hijab and Abdul Wahab Naghmeh. His six children, i.e. Waqar, Hakim, Davari, Farhang, Towhid, and Yazdani followed in their father's footsteps in science and art, and thus the family was recognized as one of the most prominent Iranian families with renowned writers and artists during the Qajar period.
Today, exquisite works such as illuminated Qurans and Muraqqas of calligraphy and literary manuscripts authored or created by Vessal family are kept in many prestigious museums around the world, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and other private collections. Shahnameh Davari, the last illustrated version of Shahnameh, is just one example of such works.
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