"Dancing Dervishes", Folio from the Shah Jahan Album

Calligrapher Mir 'Ali Haravi

Not on view

Ecstatic dervishes in this painting perform the sama, or mystical whirling dance. Although this dance was practiced as a means of achieving mystical states from very early times in the Islamic world, it was institutionalized at the end of the thirteenth century by Sultan Walad, son of the great mystical poet Jalaluddin Rumi, who died at Konya (present-day Turkey) in 1273.

"Dancing Dervishes", Folio from the Shah Jahan Album, Mir 'Ali Haravi (died ca. 1550), Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper

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