The Museum is temporarily closed in support of public health efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19. Go here to learn more.
Drawing shows a young woman dressed in the Indian style, standing in the foreground and holding a flower to her nose while also holding a long, thin pipe in her right hand. Set inside an illuminated boarder on a green and brown patterned page.
AKM197, Young Woman in Indian Dress

© The Aga Khan Museum

Click on the image to zoom

Young Woman in Indian Dress
  • Accession Number:AKM197
  • Creator:signed by Sheykh ‘Abbasi
  • Place:Iran, Isfahan
  • Dimensions:26.5 x 17.2 cm
  • Date:1683
  • Materials and Technique:ink and opaque watercolour on paper
  • This single-page, slightly coloured drawing shows a young woman dressed in the Indian style, standing in the foreground and holding a flower to her nose while also holding a long, thin pipe in her right hand. This drawing belongs to a group painted in Iran (see AKM150); clearly, the Reza-e ‘Abbasi style that had developed throughout the 17th century in Isfahan received fresh new ideas from India. Mughal visual culture intrigued Iranian artists, and like the artist of this folio, Sheykh ‘Abbasi (who is named in the inscription), the artists ‘Ali Qoli Jobbedar and Bahram Sofrakesh shared this Indian fascination.

Further Reading

 

During the 17th century, paintings and drawings from Mughal India were accessible to artists through the courtly workshops or ateliers and trade in Isfahan.[1] Through these sources Iranian artists were able to combine Iranian techniques with European modelling.[2] Naturalistic flower and bird compositions were added to the repertoire of Iranian artists, who started to execute artworks in the Mughal mode, modelling the figures and showing full perspective. Iranian artists had direct access to European paintings and engravings, but the Indian style was also popular in Isfahan.

 

The drawing is attached to a blue-backgrounded frame with empty cartouches fitted into a folio decorated with floral scissor-cut printed motifs. The small rectangular text panel on the green hill on the right bears the inscription hova beha gereft chu kardid Sheykh-e ‘Abbasi sana 1094 (It achieved worth because he became Sheykh ‘Abbasi in the year 1094 [1683]). Sheykh ‘Abbasi was an artist attached to the courts of Shah ‘Abbas II (r. 1642–66) and Shah Suleyman I (r. 1666–94).[3] His known works include 17 signed and dated drawings produced between 1647 and 1684.[4] Sheila Canby’s suggestion that Bahram Sofrakesh was the master of Sheykh ‘Abbasi could be proved by the subject but not by written sources.[5] This drawing in the Aga Khan Museum Collection and an early Sheykh ‘Abbasi drawing from 1647 of a woman in Indian dress standing under a willow tree suggest the longevity and popularity of this subject.[6]

 

— Filiz Çakır Phillip


Notes
[1] Barbara Schmitz, “Indian Influences on Persian Painting,” Encyclopædia Iranica 13 (2004): 76–81.
[2] Sheila Canby, “Farangi Saz: The Impact of Europe on Safavid Painting.” In Silk and Stone: The Art of Asia, ed. Jill Tilden (London: Hali Publications, 1996), 46–59.
[3] Abolala Soudavar, “Le Chant du Monde: A Disenchanting Echo of Safavid Art History,” Iran 46 (2008): 367; Schmitz, 76–81.
[4] After Skelton, his signed and dated works were executed in 1650–84. See Robert Skelton, “Abbasi, Sayk,” Encyclopædia Iranica 1 (1982): 86–88; Adel Adamova, Persian Manuscripts, Paintings and Drawings: From the 15th to the 20th Century in the Hermitage Collection (London: Azimuth Editions, 2012), 244.
[5] Sheila Canby, Princes, Poets & Paladins: Islamic and Indian Paintings from the Collection of Prince and Princess Sadruddin Aga Khan (London: Trustees of the British Museum, 1998), 81; see also AKM 150 (Cat. 29).
[6] Soudavar, Art of the Persian Courts (New York: Rizzoli, 1992), 367–68.


References
Adamova, Adel. Persian Manuscripts, Paintings and Drawings: From the 15th to the 20th Century in the Hermitage Collection. London: Azimuth Editions, 2012. ISBN: 9781898592075
Canby, Sheila. “Farangi Saz: The Impact of Europe on Safavid Painting.” In Silk and Stone: The Art of Asia, ed. Jill Tilden. London: Hali Publications, 1996, 46–59. ISBN: 9781898113201
---. Princes, Poets & Paladins: Islamic and Indian Paintings from the Collection of Prince and Princess Sadruddin Aga Khan. London: Trustees of the British Museum, 1998. ISBN: 9780714114835
Phillip, Filiz Çakır. Enchanted lines: drawings from the Aga Khan Museum collection. 2014. ISBN: 9780991992874 
Schmitz, Barbara. “Indian Influences on Persian Painting.” Encyclopædia Iranica 13 (2004): 76–81. ISBN: 9780933273955
Skelton, Robert. “Abbasi, Sayk.” Encyclopædia Iranica 1 (1982): 86–88. ISBN: 9780710090904

Soudavar, Abolala.“Le Chant du Monde: A Disenchanting Echo of Safavid Art History,” Iran 46 (2008): 367; Schmitz, 76–81. www.jstor.org/stable/25651445
---.  The Art of the Persian Courts: Selections from the Art and History Trust Collection. New York: Rizzoli, 1992. ISBN: 978-0847816606

Note: This online resource is reviewed and updated on an ongoing basis. We are committed to improving this information and will revise and update knowledge about this object as it becomes available.

news_icon

Get connected. Stay engaged. Sign up for the latest updates from the Aga Khan Museum