Princely Hawking Party

Artist: Attributed to Mirza 'Ali (active ca. 1525–75)

Object Name: Folio from an illustrated manuscript

Date: ca. 1570

Geography: Made in Iran, Qazvin or Mashhad

Medium: Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper

Dimensions: H. 18 5/8 in. (47.3 cm)
W. 12 3/4 in. (32.4 cm)
Mat size:
H. 24 in. (61 cm)
W. 19 in. (48. 3 cm)

Classification: Codices

Credit Line: Rogers Fund, 1912

Accession Number: 12.223.1


This mannered miniature was the left half of a large, double-page composition now shared with the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. The figures, part of a hawking party, gaze to the right at the seated prince who is central to the Boston painting. The two pages, probably painted as the frontispiece to a great manuscript, can be attributed to Mirza 'Ali, one of the leading younger artists of the Tahmasp Shahnama. The painting is in the court style associated with the new capital, Qazvin. In the idealized landscape, slim, elegant aristocrats take their ease in graceful, languid poses. Figures with long necks and small round heads are typical of the Qazvin school. Here, a youth straddling a rock cups the chin of a bare‑chested boy whose upper arms are lined with burn marks, indicating that he is a Sufi, or follower of the mystical path, who has burned himself as a sign of his love of God.