Fragment of Wall Painting with a Scene of Two Horsemen Slaying a Serpent, Gypsum plaster; painted

Fragment of Wall Painting with a Scene of Two Horsemen Slaying a Serpent

Object Name:
Wall painting fragment
early 20th century
Attributed to Iran
Gypsum plaster; painted
H. 19 1/2 in. (49.5 cm)
W. 23 1/4 in. (59.1 cm)
Wt. 41 lbs. (18.6 kg)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, 1952
Accession Number:
Not on view
Medieval texts report that wall paintings often decorated building interiors, and some examples have been excavated. However, extant wall paintings from the Seljuq period are rare. This fragment, probably from the spandrel of an arch, contains a row of standing and kneeling figures in the upper register and a scene of two horsemen slaying a serpent in the lower register. Even more than mina'i ware pottery, it gives an impression of the little‑known pre‑Mongol painting style.
Dikran G. Kelekian, New York (by 1938–d. 1951; his estate,New York, 1951–52; sold to MMA)
The Iranian Institute. "Exhibition of Persian Art," 1940.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Transformed: Medieval Syrian and Iranian Art in the Early 20th cent.," February 10, 2016–July 17, 2016, no catalogue.

Harari, Ralph, and Richard Ettinghausen. A Survey of Persian Art from Prehistoric Times to the Present, edited by Arthur Upham Pope. Vol. I-VI. London and New York: Oxford University Press, 1938. v. V, pl. 554A.

Ferrier, Ronald W., ed. The Arts of Persia. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1989. p. 201, ill. pl. 4 (b/w).

Sims, Eleanor, B. Marshak, and Ernst J. Grube. "Persian Painting and its Sources." In Peerless Images. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2002. no. 38, p. 121, ill. (color).