The Biography of Vahshi Bafqi (d. 991/1583) and the Tazkera Tradition


This paper focuses on Vahshi Bafqi (d. 991/1583), especially on the sources for the study of his biography and works. The various editions of his collected poems are assessed. Next, all of the known early sources on Vahshi’s biography are presented, including a very important one that has not been published or cited before. Laying out all of these sources allows us to construct a more authoritative biography of the poet than has appeared to date. On a broader level, we learn that the careers and works of poets of Vahshi’s era are best understood in connection to one another. The tremendous growth of the tazkera genre in the Safavid-Mughal period makes possible this kind of research, focused on interconnectivity and cosmopolitanism in literary culture. In fact, the sources not only permit such an approach; they demand it. The paper ends with a series of recommendations for future research on Vahshi, his contemporaries, and the tazkeras themselves.

Journal of Persianate Studies 8, no. 2 (Brill)

The copy of this article posted on has a list of errata appended. Please let me know if you find any new problems that should be included.