Portrait of a Girl in a Round Pendant

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 462

The enamels of Qajar Iran are figurative, and closely resemble in style oil paintings produced during the same period. Scenes of youth and lovers are typical subjects depicted on these enamels. Both the oil paintings and enamels are valuable documents of prevalent styles in costume and jewelry. Round or elliptical enamel plaques such as this were commonly set into water pipes or other utilitarian objects. The engravings on the back of this pendant, however, may indicate that it was used as a talisman. The top line of engraving consists of a series of arrowlike signs separated by vertical strokes; the next six lines consist of an uninterrupted series of from nine to sixteen numbers, probably of occult significance. The bottom three lines contain the inscription: "Allah! Allah! Muhammad [the] Prophet/'Ali ibn Abi-Talib/ (Quli?)." Whether or not the bottom line is a signature (the word quli means "slave" and was a common name in Iran) is not known.

Portrait of a Girl in a Round Pendant, Gold; enamel-painted

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.