Ostad Zarif describes himself as "Essentially Tabrizian."
He continues: "I was born in Mashhad Razavi in 1301 A.H. In 1320 A.H., I was honored to undertake an apprenticeship with Ostad Mohammad Reza Ghezelbash in the field of illumination, working in the library of Astan Ghods Razavi. From the very beginning of my career, I practiced and dealt mainly with the illumination of handwritten texts and the repairing of damaged covers in the library archives. I resigned in 1345 A.H. from my work at Astan Ghods Razavi, but returned frequently to aid in cooperative illumination projects."

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