The Conference of the Birds: Page from a manuscript of the Mantiq al–Tayr (The Language of the Birds) of Farid al–Din cAttar, ca. 1600; Safavid
Opaque watercolor, ink, silver, gold on paper; 10 x 4 1/2 in. (25.4 x 11.4 cm)
Fletcher Fund, 1963 (63.210.11)
The text on this folio pertains to the hoopoe's speech in which he proposes that the birds set out on a journey to find the Simurgh. In this illustration, the birds have assembled and listen to the hoopoe at the middle right. A stone next to a stream contains the signature of the Safavid painter, Habiballah. A man with a matchlock, which is irrelevant to the story, was a popular motif at that time. In contrast, the tree with a snake climbing toward a bird's nest may have been inspired by the same motif on Timurid folio 35r. The motif of goats on a mountain is also typical of Timurid paintings. Probably Habiballah used these Timurid motifs to visually align the additional Safavid illustrations to the original Timurid pages.