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Composite Camel with Attendant

Object Name:
Illustrated single work
third quarter 16th century
Iran, Khurasan
Opaque watercolor and ink on paper
Painting: H. 7 7/8 in. (20 cm) W. 5 1/2 in. (14 cm) Page: H. 9 in. (22.9 cm) W. 6 11/16 in. (17 cm) Mat: H. 19 1/4 in. (48.9 cm) W. 14 1/4 in. (36.2 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of George D. Pratt, 1925
Accession Number:
Not on view
While composite animals such as this one are known from earlier periods of Persian art, they gained in popularity toward the end of the sixteenth century. Here, comprising the overall shape of a camel, are found images of demons (divs), dervishes, embracing couples, rabbits, dragons, and even a Buddhist monk, sporting an earring and carrying a khakkhara (sounding) staff. The meaning of such images is open to interpretation, but many scholars believe them to have mystical significance—likely referring to the unity of all creatures within God.
George D. Pratt, New York (until 1925; gifted to MMA)
Dimand, Maurice S. "Oriental Miniatures." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin vol. 20 (1925). pp. 125, 127.

Grube, Ernst J. "from Collections in the United States and Canada." In Muslim Miniature Paintings from the XIII to XIX Century. Venice: N. Pozza, 1962. no. 70, pp. 91-92, ill. fig. 70 (b/w).

Grube, Ernst J. "The Early School of Herat and its Impact on Islamic Painting of the Later 15th, the 16th and 17th Centuries." In The Classical Style in Islamic Painting. Venice: Edizioni Oriens, 1968. ill. pl. 44 (b/w).

Dali und die Magier der Mehrdeutigkeit. Düsseldorf`, 2003. p.160, ill. (color).

"Dali und die Magier der Mehrdeutigkeit (Dali and the magicians of multiple meaning)." In Das Endlose Ratselm (The Endless Enigma). Düsseldorf: Museum Kunstpalast, 2003. p. 160, ill. (color).

Ekhtiar, Maryam, Sheila R. Canby, Navina Haidar, and Priscilla P. Soucek, ed. Masterpieces from the Department of Islamic Art in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1st ed. ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2011. no. 142, pp. 214-215, ill. p. 215 (color).

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