A Family of Dervishes
Arts of the Islamic World
A Sufi’s attributes and clothing indicate the mystical order to which he or she belongs and may also suggest rank and status within that order. Here, the patriarch’s black robe emphasizes his authority. The varied styles of the hats further delineate positions within the group. The central seated figure holds a tabar, a small ceremonial axe, while each of the remaining men holds a walking staff, another iconic Sufi attribute. The extremely long beards of the male members identify this group as part of the Ahl-i Haqq order of Sufis, whose practices are guarded with extreme secrecy. The portrait may have been taken by Antoin Sevruguin, who served at the court of the Qajar ruler Nasir al-Din Shah in the latter nineteenth century and is known for his photographs of Iranian landscapes and subjects.
Albumen silver photograph
late 19th-early 20th century
Purchase gift of Leona Soudavar in memory of Ahmad Soudavar
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.
This item is not on view
A Family of Dervishes, late 19th-early 20th century. Albumen silver photograph, 6 1/8 x 8 3/16 in. (15.6 x 20.8 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Purchase gift of Leona Soudavar in memory of Ahmad Soudavar, 1997.3.139 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 1997.3.139_PS2.jpg)
overall, 1997.3.139_PS2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2008
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