Mirror Case

Painting by Zain al-'Abidin Iranian

Not on view

During the 18th and 19th centuries Iran witnessed a proliferation in the production of a wide array of lacquer objects. Regarded as desirable possessions and status symbols, painted lacquerwares were commissioned by royal and elite patrons, sold commercially and exported abroad in quantity. Lacquer painters took great pride in their individual styles, which they demonstrated by signing and dating their works. This one has been created by an artist who signed his work "Ya Zayn al-`Abidin" and dated it "sana 1206" (the year A.D. 1844–1845.)
This mirror case is ornamented on the front and back with the gul-u-bulbul (bird-and-flower) design, wherein a nightingale sits in the midst of lush foliage. The inside of the shutter contains a spectacular painting of small flowers grouped around a large iris, with a butterfly in the upper right corner. This painting is the most outstanding of the three painted surfaces.

#6724. Overview: Lacquer Objects, Part 1



  1. 6724. Overview: Lacquer Objects, Part 1
  2. 6724. Overview: Lacquer Objects
Mirror Case, Painting by Zain al-'Abidin (Iranian, active 1840–1875), Exterior: pasteboard, papier-maché; opaque watercolor, gilded and lacquered
Interior: mirror

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