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Mirror Case

Painting by Zain al-'Abidin

Object Name:
Mirror case
Date:
A.H. 1206/ A.D. 1844–1845
Geography:
Iran
Culture:
Islamic
Medium:
Exterior: Pasteboard, papier-maché; opaque watercolor, gilded and lacquered Interior: mirror
Dimensions:
Ht. 9 1/4 in.(23.5 cm) W. 5 5/16 in. (13.5 cm)
Classification:
Lacquer
Credit Line:
Gift of Catherine and Robert Harper, in memory of Drs. Grigor and Arax Acopian, 2009
Accession Number:
2009.170
  • Description

    During the 18th and 19th centuries Iran witnessed a proliferation in the production of a wide array of lacquer objects. Regarded as desirable possessions and status symbols, painted lacquerwares were commissioned by royal and elite patrons, sold commercially and exported abroad in quantity. Lacquer painters took great pride in their individual styles, which they demonstrated by signing and dating their works. This one has been created by an artist who signed his work "Ya Zayn al-`Abidin" and dated it "sana 1206" (the year A.D. 1844–1845.)
    This mirror case is ornamented on the front and back with the gul-u-bulbul (bird-and-flower) design, wherein a nightingale sits in the midst of lush foliage. The inside of the shutter contains a spectacular painting of small flowers grouped around a large iris, with a butterfly in the upper right corner. This painting is the most outstanding of the three painted surfaces.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Inscription: Ya Zayn al-'Abidin, sana A.H. 1260 /A.D. 1844–45

  • Provenance

    Catherine Harper, Mattituck, NY (from about 1969–2009)

  • See also
    Who
    What
    Where
    When
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
456956

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