Portrait of a Dervish

Object Name: Illustrated album leaf

Date: 16th century

Geography: Attributed to Present-day Uzbekistan, Bukhara

Medium: Main support: ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper
Margins: gold on dyed paper

Dimensions: Page: 15 3/4 x 10 1/4 in. (40 x 26 cm)
Painting: 7 1/16 x 4 1/8 in. (18 x 10.5 cm)
Mat: 19 1/4 x 14 1/4 in. (48.9 x 36.2 cm)

Classification: Codices

Credit Line: Cora Timken Burnett Collection of Persian Miniatures and Other Persian Art Objects, Bequest of Cora Timken Burnett, 1956

Accession Number: 57.51.27


In the sixteenth century, albums with examples of great painting and calligraphy pasted onto decorated pages became popular. This folio from such an album includes a portrait of a dervish, or member of a mystical religious fraternity, surrounded by lines of poetry from another work. Shown enveloped in a mantle, lost in thought with a string of prayer beads hanging from his sleeve, the dervish embodies the ideal of religious absorption, but the individualized drawing of his face suggests a true portrait.