Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Rose and Nightingale (gul-u-bul-bul) Drawing

Object Name:
Illustrated single work
late 19th century
Attributed to Iran, possibly Shiraz
Ink and watercolor on paper
H. 21 7/16 in. (54.5 cm) W. 16 15/16 in. (43 cm) Mat: H. 25 1/2 (64.8 cm) W.19 1/2 in. (49.5 cm)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Elizabeth S. Ettinghausen Gift, in memory of Richard Ettinghausen, 1993
Accession Number:
Not on view
In this drawing, a rich assemblage of birds gather in the branches of a blossoming tree and a pair of partridges stand on the mound of earth below. The gul-o-bul-bul, or rose and nightingale, motif was employed in both Persian literature and painting. In poetry, the two stood in for the beloved and the loved, entwined in either an earthly or divine union. In art, the motif appeared on all types of objects, and during the Qajar period proliferated to the extent that it came practically to symbolize the country itself. It became especially popular among European collectors, who demanded goods and albums decorated with this motif. Shiraz, where this drawing might have been made, was an important center for the production of architectural tiles in this genre as well.
Haj Mehdi Kashani, Iran; [ Massoud Nader, New York, until 1993; sold to MMA]
Related Objects

Qur'an of Ibrahim Sultan

Date: dated A.H. 830/A.D. 1427 Medium: Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper; leather binding Accession: 13.228.1 On view in:Gallery 455

Khamsa (Quintet) of Nizami

Artist: Nizami (Ilyas Abu Muhammad Nizam al-Din of Ganja) (probably 1141–1217) Date: 15th century Medium: Ink, opaque watercolor, silver, and gold on paper Accession: On view in:Gallery 455

"Bizhan Slaughters the Wild Boars of Irman", Folio from a Shahnama (Book of Kings)

Artist: Abu'l Qasim Firdausi (935–1020) Date: dated A.H. 741/A.D. 1341 Medium: Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper Accession: 29.160.22 On view in:Gallery 455

Divan (Collected Works) of Jami

Artist: Maulana Nur al-Din `Abd al-Rahman Jami (1414–92) Date: ca. 1480 Medium: Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper; leather binding Accession: 13.228.4 On view in:Gallery 455

Folio from a Qur'an Manuscript

Date: dated A.H. 531/ A.D. 1137 Medium: Ink, gold, and watercolor on paper Accession: 1996.238.2 On view in:Gallery 453