top © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Identification and Creation
Object Number
Mubarak Mirza ibn Mahmud
Pen Box with Persian Woman of Letters
Artists' Tools
Work Type
pen box
c. 1850-1885
Creation Place: Middle East, Iran
Qajar period
Persistent Link
Physical Descriptions
Opaque watercolor, gold-colored pigments, and lacquer on pasteboard
3.4 × 3.7 × 21.7 cm (1 5/16 × 1 7/16 × 8 9/16 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • inscription:


    رقم مبرک ميرزا

    Painted by Mubarak Mirza


    ای ایاز از عشق تو گشتم چو مو

    ماندم از قصه تو قصهٔ من بگو

    O Ayaz! I’ve become like a strand of hair from your love,

    I could not go along with your story, speak of my story.

    [Couplet from the fifth chapter of the Mathnavi by Jalal al- Din Rumi]

    Inside cover (maker’s seal):

    صح تراج

    The standard of Taraj
Ezzat-Malek Soudavar, Geneva, Switzerland (by 2014), by descent; to her son Abolala Soudavar, Houston, Texas (2014), gift; to Harvard Art Museums, 2014.

Ezzat-Malek Soudavar (1913-2014) formed this collection over a period of sixty years. She purchased the works of art on the international art market.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of A. Soudavar in memory of his mother Ezzat-Malek Soudavar
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art
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Cover and sliding compartment with rounded ends. The top is decorated in vertical format with three cartouches containing images of an elegantly dressed Persian woman embracing her beloved (upper), writing a letter (central), and caressing a small child (lower). The front and back show the same woman reclining against cushions and reading a book. The base and compartment are decorated with a gold arabesque on a red background.
Publication History

Massumeh Farhad and Mary McWilliams, ed., A Collector’s Passion: Ezzat-Malek Soudavar and Persian Lacquer, Harvard Art Museums and Freer/Sackler Galleries, Smithsonian Institution (Cambridge, MA/Washington, D.C., 2017), pp. 29-31, fig. 3; p. 151, cat. 157

Exhibition History

32Q: 3620 University Study Gallery, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 08/17/2017 - 01/07/2018

Related Articles

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