Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object
{{img.publicCaption}}

Pen Box (Qalamdan) Depicting Shah Isma'il in a Battle against the Uzbeks

Object Name:
Pen box
Date:
early 19th century
Geography:
Iran
Culture:
Islamic
Medium:
Papier-maché; painted and lacquered
Dimensions:
H. 1 1/2 in. (3.8 cm) W. 10 1/8 in. (25.7 cm) D. 1 7/8 in. (4.8 cm)
Classification:
Lacquer
Credit Line:
Purchase, Elizabeth S. Ettinghausen Gift, in memory of Richard Ettinghausen; and Stephenson Family Foundation Gift, 2006
Accession Number:
2006.523a, b
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 462
Painted in a harmonious palette of pastels with touches of gold on a cream-colored background, this pen box is an unusual and sensitively drawn example of Persian lacquer from the dawn of the nineteenth century, possibly by the master court painter Mirza Baba (active 1780s–1810) or an artist in his circle. The top depicts one of the battles between the first Safavid ruler, Shah Isma'il I (r. 1501–24), and the Ottoman Turks in the second decade of the sixteenth century, possibly the Battle of Chaldiran of 1514. In the foreground, the two armies are shown in fierce battle against a row of cannons, at the time the ultimate symbol of the modern military. In the scenes on the two sides, which continue onto the rounded ends, men on horseback, accompanied by dogs, hunt bears and gazelles in a delicately painted Europeanizing landscape with buildings. The details of the landscape and architecture and the rendering of the figures and animals evince the continuation of the late Safavid Perso-European style into the early nineteenth century.
Private collection, England; Christie's, London, April 7, 2006, no. 210, to Nader; [ Massoud Nader, New York, 2006; sold to MMA]
"7 April 2006." In Indian and Islamic Art and Textiles. London: Christie's, South Kensington, 2006. no. 210, p. 56, ill. fig. 210.

Hearn, Maxwell K., Denise Patry Leidy, Zhixin Jason Sun, Kurt Behrendt, Miyeko Murase, and Jeff L. Rosenheim. "Recent Acquisitions, A Selection: 2006–2007." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 65: 2 (Fall 2007). p. 38, 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. 193, pp. 174, 276-277, ill. p. 276 (color).



Related Objects

Pen Box with a Europeanizing Landscape

Date: late 17th–early 18th century Medium: Papier-maché; painted and lacquered Accession: 2000.491a, b On view in:Gallery 462

Lacquer Pen Box with Royal Audience Scenes

Date: ca. 1870–90 Medium: Papier-mache; painted and lacquered Accession: 2014.258 On view in:Gallery 462

Pen Box with Architectural Cartouches

Date: dated A.H. 1156/ A.D. 1743 Medium: Papier-mâché; painted, sprinkled with mica, and lacquered Accession: 2008.246a, b On view in:Gallery 462

Mirror Case

Date: A.H. 1206/ A.D. 1844–45 Medium: Exterior: pasteboard, papier-maché; opaque watercolor, gilded and lacquered Interior: mirror Accession: 2009.170 On view in:Gallery 462

Lacquer Mirror Case

Artist: Painting by Fathallah Shirazi (Iranian, active 1850s–80s) Date: dated A.H. 1295/ A.D. 1878 Medium: Papier-maché; painted, gilded, and lacquered Accession: 1979.460.2a, b On view in:Gallery 462