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Portrait of a Sufi

Object Name:
Illustrated single work
Date:
first quarter 17th century
Geography:
India, Deccan, Bijapur
Culture:
Islamic
Medium:
Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper
Dimensions:
OveralL. 15 3/8 x 10 3/8in. (39 x 26.3cm) Dimensions of painting: 5 5/16 x 8 7/8in. (13.5 x 22.5cm)
Classification:
Codices
Credit Line:
Bequest of Cora Timken Burnett, 1956
Accession Number:
57.51.22
  • Description

    This figure can be identified as a sufi, on account of his long-sleeved khirqa cloak, and turban wrapped in fabric. His curled-up posture and lowered gaze suggest that he is in a state of deep introspection.
    Sufis frequently spent periods of up to forty days in isolation in the wilderness. This practice, called khalwa, facilitated distraction-free meditation and prayer. Young sufis would engage in this habit under the guidance of a shaikh, and more advanced sufis would sustain this practice independently throughout their lives.

  • Provenance

    [ Hagop Kevorkian, New York, by 1914]; Cora Timken Burnett, Alpine, NJ (by 1940–d. 1956; bequeathed to MMA)

  • See also
    What
    Where
    When
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
451401

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