Mounted on an album page below a calligraphy signed by Nur al-Din Muhammad Lahiji, these two drawings form a single composition depicting an old man dressed as a dervish pursuing a youth with a wine bottle and cup. Although the drawings are ascribed to Riza-yi 'Abbasi, the quality of line here is more rigid and less sure than that of the master. The image of an old man yearning for a youth finds parallels in Persian mystical poetry. The line of poetry above the drawings refers to the virtue of a young male on the verge of manhood, but may be an ironic reference to the youth in the drawing.
Signature: "Drawn by the very humble Riza 'Abbasi"
Inscription: The poetry at the top is a hemistich of a couplet. Translated literally, it reads, "Your green line that is the sign of virtue." The "green line" refers to the shadow that appears at the upper-lip of a girl when she begins to mature. Thus, the verse somewhat comically refers to a girl's entry into womanhood. The author or literary work from which the verse was taken is unknown.
[ Hagop Kevorkian, New York, until 1925; sold to MMA]
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Persian Drawings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art," September 13, 1989–December 31, 1989, no. 32.
Dimand, Maurice S. A Handbook of Mohammedan Decorative Arts. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1930. pp. 1(?), 48, ill. fig. 20 (b/w).
Dimand, Maurice S. A Handbook of Muhammadan Art. 2nd rev. and enl. ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1944. p. 54, ill. fig. 29 (b/w).
Ferrier, Ronald W., ed. The Arts of Persia. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1989. pp. 216-217, ill. pl. 35 (b/w).
Swietochowski, Marie, and Sussan Babaie. Persian Drawings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1989. no. 32, pp. 74-75, ill. pl. 32 (b/w).
Yarshater, Ehsan, ed. Encyclopaedia Iranica vol. 7 (1996). p. 544, ill. pl. XLI (b/w).