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Identification and Creation
Object Number
2002.50.17
Title
Young Woman as Cup Bearer, folio from an album
Classification
Albums
Work Type
album folio
Date
early 17th century
Places
Creation Place: Middle East, Iran
Period
Safavid period
Culture
Persian
Persistent Link
https://hvrd.art/o/149279
Physical Descriptions
Medium
Ink on paper
Dimensions
26.4 x 16 cm (10 3/8 x 6 5/16 in.)
Provenance
Stanford and Norma Jean Calderwood, Belmont, MA (by 1992-2002), gift; to Harvard Art Museums, 2002.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, The Norma Jean Calderwood Collection of Islamic Art
Accession Year
2002
Object Number
2002.50.17
Division
Asian and Mediterranean Art
Contact
am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu
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Descriptions
Description
The drawing depicts a solitary woman offering a cup to someone outside the picture frame; other vessels for holding liquids are shown at her feet. The woman’s facial features, which include rounded cheeks, arched eyebrows, and a beauty spot, accord with contemporary standards of female comeliness. She is outfitted in elegant clothes, which emphasize her broad hips and slim torso, and a graceful headdress decorated with feathers. Wisps of curly hair frame her face and blow in the wind. The long, tapered strokes that delineate the profile of her hips and right shoulder seem to vibrate; the horizontal undulation of her hair indicates movement; and the staccato lines used to define the fluttering fabric of her skirt and the clouds in the sky above further increase the sense of animation. The drawing, which in several details reflects the style of Riza ?Abbasi, has been attributed to Habib Allah Savaji, an artist who was invited to work for the future ruler Shah ?Abbas (r. 1587–1629) in Herat and then Isfahan. Habib Allah’s oeuvre includes drawings, single-page paintings, and manuscript illustrations.
Framing the drawing is a decorated border, drawn in gold on ivory paper. Layers of pink wash have been applied to the figures, which include Chinese phoenixes and qilins assimilated into Persianate art since the early 1400s, a vase with flowers, and landscape and floral elements. A series of colored ruled lines separates drawing from border.

Published Catalogue Text: In Harmony: The Norma Jean Calderwood Collection of Islamic Art , written 2013
123

Young Woman Offering a Cup
Folio from an album
Iran, Safavid period, early 17th century
Ink on paper
Folio: 26.4 × 16 cm (10 3/8 × 6 5/16 in.)
2002.50.17

The drawing depicts a solitary woman offering a cup to someone outside the picture frame; other vessels for holding liquids are shown at her feet. The woman’s facial features, which include rounded cheeks, arched eyebrows, and a beauty spot, accord with contemporary standards of female comeliness. She is outfitted in elegant clothes, which emphasize her broad hips and slim torso, and a graceful headdress decorated with feathers. Wisps of curly hair frame her face and blow in the wind. The long, tapered strokes that delineate the profile of her hips and right shoulder seem to vibrate; the horizontal undulation of her hair indicates movement; and the staccato lines used to define the fluttering fabric of her skirt and the clouds in the sky above further increase the sense of animation. The drawing, which in several details reflects the style of Riza ʿAbbasi (see cat. 122), has been attributed to Habib Allah Savaji, an artist who was invited to work for the future ruler Shah ʿAbbas (r. 1587–1629) in Herat and then Isfahan. Habib Allah’s oeuvre includes drawings, single-page paintings, and manuscript illustrations.[1]

Framing the drawing is a decorated border, drawn in gold on ivory paper. Layers of pink wash have been applied to the figures, which include Chinese phoenixes and qilins assimilated into Persianate art since the early 1400s, a vase with flowers, and landscape and floral elements. A series of colored ruled lines separates drawing from border.

David J. Roxburgh

[1] For a discussion of the oeuvre and career of Habib Allah Savaji, see Schmitz 2002; Swietochowski 2000, 283–99.

Publication History

Mary McWilliams, ed., In Harmony: The Norma Jean Calderwood Collection of Islamic Art, exh. cat., Harvard Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 2013), p. 139; p. 141, ill.; p. 257, cat. 123, ill.

Exhibition History

In Harmony: The Norma Jean Calderwood Collection of Islamic Art, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 01/31/2013 - 06/01/2013

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art at am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu