"Allegory of Worldly and Otherworldly Drunkenness", Folio from the Divan of Hafiz
Painting by Sultan Muhammad (active first half 16th century)
Folio from an illustrated manuscript
Opaque watercolor, ink, and gold on paper
Painting: H. 8 1/2 in. (21.6 cm)
W. 5 15/16 in. (15.1 cm)
Page: H. 11 3/8 in. (28.9 cm)
W. 7 1/8 in. (18.1 cm)
Painting: H. 7 in. (17.8 cm)
W. 3 3/8 in. (8.6 cm)
Page: H. 11 1/4 in. (28.6 cm)
W. 7 1/4 in. (18.4 cm)
Mat: H. 14 1/4 in. (36.2 cm)
W. 19 1/4 in. (48.9 cm)
Jointly owned by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Harvard University; Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Stuart Cary Welch Jr., 1988
Not on view
Sultan Muhammad, the most innovative painter of early sixteenth-century Iran, illustrates the verses by the mystical poet Hafiz by employing his characteristic sense of humor and extreme attention to detail. The tavern party, complete with ecstatic dancers, singers and overindulgent drinkers, is given a new meaning by the presence of angels on top of the pavilion, suggesting that the state of drunkenness can be likened to that of spiritual enlightenment. As a Sufi symbol, wine stands for heaven's divine light and the cup into which it is poured, for the devotee's heart.
Inscription: Signature in Persian in naskhi script, on door:
عمل سلطان محمد
The work of Sultan Muhammad
Marking: See additional card.
[ Tabbagh Frères, Paris and New York ]; Arthur Sambon, Paris (until 1914; his sale, Galerie GeorgesPetit, Paris, May 25–28, 1914, no. 189); Louis J. Cartier, Paris; Mr. and Mrs. Stuart Cary Welch, Warner, NH (until 1988; gifted to MMA)
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