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Recto: Persian courtier; Verso: Calligraphy

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Recto: Persian courtier; Verso: Calligraphy


Creation date: ca. 1615
Creation place: India

Other Information

Type: Watercolor Painting
Medium and Support: Opaque watercolor, gold and ink on paper, mounted on an album page
Credit Line: Edwin Binney 3rd Collection
Accession Number: 1990.457
State/Province: Deccan
Dimensions: 6 3/8 in. x 3 3/8 in. (16.2 cm x 8.6 cm)

Provenance

Stuart Cary Welch, Cambridge, Massachusetts ( - )

Sotheby's, London, England (June 10, 1963 - June 10, 1963)

Edwin Binney 3rd, San Diego, California (June 10, 1963 - August 27, 1990)

San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego, California (August 27, 1990 - )

Label Copy

Temple, Palace, Mosque: 2010

This work of calligraphy is mounted as an album page. Albums were called muraqqa, which means “patched together” like the robe of an ascetical holy man, for they consist of discrete works of calligraphy and painting. This album was assembled at a court in the Deccan where the Muslim rulers adhered to a different branch of Islam than the Mughal emperors and had their own direct links to courts in Iran.

The lines of text are love lyrics by Amir Khusraw Dehlavi (1253–1325), a poet from northern India, who wrote masterful works in the Persian language. The lines of text on this page are a continuation from those in the border of the painting of a young prince on the opposite side.

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(recto)

An Indian artist has created this vision of a member of a Persian court who is literally wrapped in symbols that reference his status as a learned member of the cultured aristocracy. The red baton in his turban indicates his association with the Safavid court at Tabriz in Iran. His trousers are covered with what appears to be a scene from the romance of Iran’s pre-Islamic king Khusraw and the Aramenian princess Shirin. It depicts the moment when they first laid eyes on each other, when Khusraw catches her bathing in the woods.

The prince holds out in his hand the artist’s interpretation of a European engraving of the type that was being collected in Persian courts. Though indistinct, the picture may depict a bearded Christ carrying the artist’s version of the cross, along with other symbolic elements, such as the rooster, ladder, and shroud.

SASAPA December 2014
Persian courtier
India, possibly the Deccan; ca. 1615 Opaque watercolor and gold on paper
This courtier standing in a landscape setting wears a most extraordinary costume, fashioned from rich
brocaded textiles. His tunic is covered with musicians and other courtly figures, while his trousers depict a scene from the famous romance of Khusrau and Shirin, showing the moment when Khusrau first sees Shirin while she is bathing in the woods. The courtier also holds a European engraving. Though indistinct, the picture may depict a bearded Christ carrying the cross, along with other symbolic elements, such as the rooster, ladder, and
shroud. The lines of poetry in the border are love lyrics by Amir Khusrau Dehlavi (1253–1325), a poet from northern India who wrote masterful works in the Persian language.
Edwin Binney 3rd Collection, 1990.457
Last Updated: 9/5/2017

Exhibition

This object was included in the following exhibitions:

Temple, Palace, Mosque: Southern Asian & Persian Art , 1/2/2010 - 2/1/2011

Arts of South Asia 13th - 19th century , 12/20/2014 - 00/00/00


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