Abraham Sacrificing Isaac

Artist: Painted by Fathallah Shirazi (Iranian, active 1850s–80s)

Object Name: Illustrated single work

Date: late 19th century

Geography: Attributed to Iran

Medium: Opaque watercolor, ink, and gold on paper

Dimensions: Sheet: H. 11 5/8 in. (29.5 cm)
W. 8 3/8 in. (21.3 cm)
Miniature: H. 3 3/8 (8.6 cm)
W. 2 7/16 in. (6.2 cm)

Classification: Codices

Credit Line: Bequest of Harold B. Allen, 1970

Accession Number: 1970.275


The painting at the center of this page is copied after a Flemish engraving, and depicts the biblical story of Abraham's sacrifice of his son Isaac. European paintings and engravings were first available in Iran and copied during the Safavid period (1501–1722), and this scene in particular remained popular through the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. This version is in fact quite similar to a seventeenth-century painting signed by the Safavid artist Muhammad Zaman. The painting has been set into a frame with a dense flower and bird (gul-o-bul-bul) design, signed by Fathallah Shirazi (active 1850s–80s). The inscriptional medallion at the bottom of the page that gives his name also dedicates the work to Vusuq al-Dawleh, who was prime minister at the time. It is unclear whether the central painting was also completed by Fathallah Shirazi or if it is an earlier work that was later pasted into this album page.