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Sultan Sanjar and the Old Woman

Arts of the Islamic World

On View: Arts of the Islamic World, 2nd floor
The lyrical paintings of this poetic cycle depict love stories from the classic works of celebrated Iranian poets, biblical and Qur’anic episodes, and hunting vignettes. Collectively, they stand as valuable documents of the original architectural formats and narrative programs of eighteenth-century domestic interiors. The reconstruction below illustrates how this painting cycle would have been displayed in its original context, which would have been a residence or a pleasure or hunting pavilion built during the Zand period (1750–1779). Such works were viewed as visual complements for poetry that the hosts, their guests, or storytellers would recite to entertain one another at convivial gatherings in intimate settings. Although the compositions of these works are derived from manuscript painting, their treatment differs considerably; the scale of the figures in relation to the background is larger, while the number of figures and degree of ornamental patterning is reduced.
MEDIUM Oil on canvas
  • Place Made: Shiraz, Iran
  • DATES mid 18th century
    DYNASTY Zand
    PERIOD Zand
    DIMENSIONS 36 x 35 in. (91.4 x 88.9 cm)  (show scale)
    ACCESSION NUMBER 1997.108.4
    CREDIT LINE Bequest of Irma B. Wilkinson in memory of her husband, Charles K. Wilkinson
    PROVENANCE Prior to 1929, provenance not yet documented; before circa 1929, acquired by Ernst Emil Herzfeld of Tehran, Iran; before 1948, purchased from Ernst Emil Herzfeld by Charles K. Wilkinson of New York, NY; 1986, gift of Charles K. Wilkinson to Irma Bezold Wilkinson (Mrs. Charles K. Wilkinson) of New York, NY, by inheritance; October 16, 1997, bequest of Irma Bezold Wilkinson to the Brooklyn Museum.
    Provenance FAQ
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in Arts of the Islamic World, 2nd floor
    CAPTION Sultan Sanjar and the Old Woman, mid 18th century. Oil on canvas, 36 x 35 in. (91.4 x 88.9 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Bequest of Irma B. Wilkinson in memory of her husband, Charles K. Wilkinson, 1997.108.4 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 1997.108.4_IMLS_SL2.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 1997.108.4_IMLS_SL2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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