The Late Nasir al-Din Shah Lying in State in the Takiah Dawlat, One of 274 Vintage Photographs
Arts of the Islamic World
The relatively peaceful reign of Nasir al-Din Shah Qajar (r. 1848–1896) was ironically brought to an end by his assassination. In this photograph, the ruler’s body lies in state on the stage of the Takiah Dawlat, the state amphitheater built for performing passion plays reenacting the lives of the Shi’ite martyrs. The ruler’s own martyrdom is dramatized by a ceremony involving government officials, military officers, and soldiers. Nasir al-Din’s coffin is veiled in a dark cloth and placed on a massive carpet that cascades down the steps of the stage. While photography gradually replaced painting as the preferred medium for imperial portraits, it is interesting that overpainting has been used here to place emphasis on the sarcophagus and to touch up individuals’ features.
Albumen silver photograph
Purchase gift of Leona Soudavar in memory of Ahmad Soudavar
This item is not on view
Unknown. The Late Nasir al-Din Shah Lying in State in the Takiah Dawlat, One of 274 Vintage Photographs, 1896. Albumen silver photograph, 8 1/2 x 11 in. (1 ft., 27.9 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Purchase gift of Leona Soudavar in memory of Ahmad Soudavar, 1997.3.80 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 1997.3.80_IMLS_PS3.jpg)
overall, 1997.3.80_IMLS_PS3.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2009
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