Prince Yahya, born in 1817, was the forty-third son of the Qajar ruler Fath cAli Shah (r. 1798–1834). A minor political figure in comparison with his powerful older half brothers, Prince Yahya at the age of five was appointed governor of Gilan, where he was assisted by Muctamid al-Dawla, who is portrayed on a lacquer mirror case displayed nearby. The prince’s name and title are inscribed in a cartouche, or ornamental frame for inscriptions, at the upper left. He wears the crown and jeweled ornaments appropriate to his rank, including the Order of the Lion and Sun appearing in a medallion on his chest. On the basis of the depiction of Prince Yahya as a beardless youth of fifteen or twenty with rosy cheeks, the painting may be dated to the 1830s.
Life-size paintings of the Qajar period were originally conceived as components of larger architectural decorative programs, so it is likely that such a work would have been situated within a niche in a royal palace or pavilion. In both patterning and delicate facial features, the painting closely resembles portraits assigned to the court painter Muhammad Hasan.
- Attributed To: Muhammad Hasan, Persian, active 1808-1840
- Medium: Oil on canvas
- Place Made: Iran
- Dates: ca. 1830s
- Dynasty: Qajar
- Period: Qajar
- Dimensions: 67 x 35 in. (170.2 x 88.9 cm) (show scale)
- Inscriptions: Inscription in Persian nasta'liq script within cartouche, upper left corner: "Shahzadeh Navvab Yahya Mirza" (His Highness Prince Yahya)"
- Collections:Arts of the Islamic World
- Museum Location: This item is not on view
- Accession Number: 72.26.5
- Credit Line: Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Charles K. Wilkinson
- Rights Statement: No known copyright restrictions
- Caption: Muhammad Hasan (Persian, active 1808-1840). Prince Yahya, ca. 1830s. Oil on canvas, 67 x 35 in. (170.2 x 88.9 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Charles K. Wilkinson, 72.26.5
- Record Completeness: Best (88%)