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Sultan Sanjar and the Old Woman

Arts of the Islamic World

The lyrical paintings of this poetic cycle depict love stories from the classic works of celebrated Iranian poets, biblical and Qur’anic episodes, and hunting vignettes. Collectively, they stand as valuable documents of the original architectural formats and narrative programs of eighteenth-century domestic interiors. The reconstruction below illustrates how this painting cycle would have been displayed in its original context, which would have been a residence or a pleasure or hunting pavilion built during the Zand period (1750–1779). Such works were viewed as visual complements for poetry that the hosts, their guests, or storytellers would recite to entertain one another at convivial gatherings in intimate settings. Although the compositions of these works are derived from manuscript painting, their treatment differs considerably; the scale of the figures in relation to the background is larger, while the number of figures and degree of ornamental patterning is reduced.
MEDIUM Oil on canvas
  • Place Made: Shiraz, Iran
  • DATES mid 18th century
    DYNASTY Zand
    PERIOD Zand
    DIMENSIONS 36 x 35 in. (91.4 x 88.9 cm)
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    ACCESSION NUMBER 1997.108.4
    CREDIT LINE Bequest of Irma B. Wilkinson in memory of her husband, Charles K. Wilkinson
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