Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object

Standing Figure with Feathered Headdress

Object Name:
12th–early 13th century
Gypsum plaster; modeled, carved, polychrome-painted, gilded
H. 47 in. (119.4 cm) W. 20 1/2 in. (52.1 cm) D. 8 3/4 in. (22.2 cm) (including wall mount) Wt. 170 lbs. (77.1 kg) from the bottom of the coat to the top of the crown: 46 in. (116.8 cm)
Credit Line:
Cora Timken Burnett Collection of Persian Miniatures and Other Persian Art Objects, Bequest of Cora Timken Burnett, 1956
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 999
The ornamented headdress, arms, and rich vestments of this figure suggests that figures like this one most likely represent a sovereign’s personal guard, viziers or amirs. Probably meant to decorate the reception hall of a ruler’s court, be it the Seljuq sultan or one of his local vassals or successors, they would parallel and enhance actual ceremonies in the very setting in which they took place. Recent analyses have proven that a traditionally-made gypsum plaster is consistently employed on these figures and on archaeological stuccoes. The figures also display integrated restoration of the first half of the twentieth century, including additions in a more refined gypsum, and modern pigments (some of the reds and synthetic ultramarine blue).
Inscription: Inscription in Arabic in kufic script on tiraz band, left sleeve:
علیکـ[ـم] بالـ

On tiraz band, right sleeve:
[Anxious is he] over you, [gentle] to the believers.
(most likely from Qur'an 9:128)
Cora Timken Burnett, Alpine, NJ (by 1940–d. 1956; bequeathed to MMA)
Ackerman, Phyllis. "The Iranian Institute, New York." In Guide to the Exhibition of Persian Art. 2nd. ed. New York: The Iranian Institute, 1940. no. Gallery XIV; no. 41, p. 467.

Jenkins-Madina, Marilyn, and Manuel Keene. Islamic Jewelry in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1983. p. 28, ill. fig. 2 (b/w).

Canby, Sheila R., Deniz Beyazit, Martina Rugiadi, and A. C. S. Peacock. "The Great Age of the Seljuqs." In Court and Cosmos. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2016. no. 1b, pp. 40-47, ill. p. 40 (color).

Ettinghausen, Richard, Oleg Grabar, and Marilyn Jenkins-Madina. Islamic Art and Architecture 650-1250. 2nd ed. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2001. p. 171, ill. fig. 264 (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. 62, pp. 88, 102-104, ill. p. 103 (color).

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