Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Man with Black Hair

Object Name:
Fragment of a wall painting
9th–10th century
Excavated in Iran, Nishapur
Stucco; painted
H. 8 1/16 in. (20.5 cm) W. 5 7/8 in. (14.9 cm)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1938
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 453
Colored with blue, yellow, black and traces of red, this fragment from a wall painting was excavated from the mound at Nishapur known as Sabz Pushan (the Green Covered). The excavations at Sabz Pushan revealed part of a residential neighborhood dating to the tenth century. This and several similar fragments were found deposited in the bottom of a well dug into the floor of what was likely a domestic unit after having been chipped off a wall and discarded, so their original location is not known. Several are now housed in the Metropolitan Museum, and include 38.40.267, 38.40.268, 38.40.269, and 38.40.270
While we can only guess at the scene or scenes to which these pieces belonged, it is clear that the subject matter was figural. This piece contains part of a male head. One can make out a prominent widow’s peak and, below this, arched eyebrows, all rendered in black. The outline of the eyes and nose appears in red, as does the halo or nimbus that encircles the head.
1937, excavated at Sabz Pushan in Nishapur, Iran by the Metropolitan Museum of Art's expedition; 1938, acquired by the Museum in the division of finds

Wilkinson, Charles K. Nishapur: Some Early Islamic Buildings and their Decoration. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1986. p. 249, ill. fig. 3.55 (b/w).

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