A Portrait of a Statesman

Yahya Ghaffari Iranian

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 462

This watercolor portrait of a Qajar official, possibly Nasir al-Din Shah's first prime minister Amir Kabir, is typical of the Nasiri period. The sitter wears a conical astrakhan hat and a fur-trimmed brocaded paisley robe. His piercing gaze and his chiseled features are striking. As with many portraits of the period, his robe is embroidered with pearls and jewels, and around his neck he wears a diamond-studded medallion bearing the portrait of the ruling king, Nasir al-Din Shah. The painting is signed by Abu'l Hasan III Ghaffari (also known as Yahya Ghaffari), who was the the third son of the renowned court painter Abu'l Hasan Ghaffari (known as Sani al-Mulk) and is dated A.H. 1294/A.D. 1877.

A Portrait of a Statesman, Yahya Ghaffari (Iranian, active 1860s–1880s, d. 1895–1906), Opaque watercolor and ink on paper

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