pen box top © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Identification and Creation
Object Number
2014.328
People
Ja`far ibn Najaf `Ali
Title
Pen Box with Shaykh San`an and the Christian Maiden
Classification
Artists' Tools
Work Type
pen box
Date
c. 1850-1875
Places
Creation Place: Middle East, Iran, Isfahan
Period
Qajar period
Culture
Persian
Physical Descriptions
Medium
Opaque watercolor, gold-colored pigments, copper alloy particles, and lacquer over brass layer on pasteboard
Dimensions
3.7 × 3.8 × 23.1 cm (1 7/16 × 1 1/2 × 9 1/8 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • inscription:
    Center:

    جعفر ابن نجفعلی

    Ja`far bin Najaf `Ali

    Right:

    سالها دل طلب جام جم از ما می کرد…

    “Years the heart was seeking Jamshid’s cup from us...” [fragment of a ghazal by Hafiz]

    دوست ...

    "Lover…”

    Left:

    هرکسی را سر کاری و

    “Everyone is preoccupied with something…” [fragment of a ghazal by Sa`di]
Provenance
Ezzat-Malek Soudavar, Geneva, Switzerland (by 2014), by descent; to her son Abolala Soudavar, Houston, Texas (2014), gift; to Harvard Art Museums, 2014.

Note:
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
2014
Object Number
2014.328
Division
Asian and Mediterranean Art
Contact
am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu
The Harvard Art Museums encourage the use of images found on this website for personal, noncommercial use, including educational and scholarly purposes. To request a higher resolution file of this image, please submit an online request.
Descriptions
Description
Cover and sliding compartment with rounded ends. The top is decorated in horizontal format and divided into three sections separated by elaborate gold scrollwork and arabesque designs. The central section illustrates a tale recounted in Farid al-Din `Attar’s Manṭiq al-ṭayr (Conference of the Birds), in which Shaykh San`an kneels before the Christian Maiden, who offers him wine. The sections to the left and right feature scenes of a teacher with his students.
The sides of the cover are similarly divided by gold scrollwork and arabesque designs that enclose illustrations from Persian literature. The scenes on the front and back reference the famous tarji’-band by Hatif of Isfahan. The vignettes on the ends represent Shirin visiting Farhad at Mount Bisutun, and Khusraw spying Shirin at her bath. The base of the cover and sides of the drawer are decorated with flowers and female portrait busts of women.
Exhibition History

Technologies of the Image: Art in 19th-Century Iran, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 08/26/2017 - 01/07/2018

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