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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.
ARTIST Unknown
MEDIUM Albumen silver photograph
DATES 1896
PERIOD Qajar Period
DIMENSIONS 8 1/2 x 11 in. (1 ft., 27.9 cm)  (show scale)
CREDIT LINE Purchase gift of Leona Soudavar in memory of Ahmad Soudavar
PROVENANCE Prior to 1997, provenance not yet documented; by 1997, acquired by Massoud Nader, New York, NY; 1997, purchased from Massoud Nader by the Brooklyn Museum.
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MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CAPTION 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)
IMAGE overall, 1997.3.80_IMLS_PS3.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2009
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RIGHTS STATEMENT No known copyright restrictions
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