Attributed to Shah Quli
Ink, colors, and gold on paper; H. 6 7/8 in. (17.3 cm), W. 10 7/8 in. (27.2 cm)
Cora Timken Burnett Collection of Persian Miniatures and Other Persian Art Objects, Bequest of Cora Timken Burnett, 1956 (57.51.26)
The tradition of drawings of dragons in foliage, a theme derived from Chinese art, seems to have taken root in Iran under Timurid and Turkman rule during the fifteenth century. The design underwent various stylistic modifications there, and when it reached Turkey in the sixteenth century, a distinctly Ottoman version emerged. It was a popular subject for drawings executed in the so-called saz style, named for the saz qalami, or reed pen, in which fantastical representations of vegetation and figures, sometimes combined, as here, were drawn with exuberant virtuosity and a calligraphic line. In the calligraphy in the rectangular panel, the drawing is attributed to Shah Quli, a Persian who became a leading painter at the court of the Ottoman sultan Süleyman the Magnificent (r. 152066).