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Mirror Case

Lutf 'Ali Suratgar Shirazi

Arts of the Islamic World

On View: Great Hall, 1st Floor

Illustrating the experimental quality and eclecticism of later Qajar art, this mirror case displays bird-and-flower imagery on the front and back surfaces and a hybrid design of figures in European dress of various historical periods on the inner surface. The eight figures in the composition inside are grouped together without scale or thematic connection against a background of lakes and waterfalls. The extensive use of modeling in the treatment of the garments of the figures as well as in the bird-and-flower design on the front surface contributes to the European flavor of this work.

MEDIUM Ink, opaque watercolor, metallic pigment, and gold on papier mâché under a lacquered varnish; silvered glass and detailed leather
  • Place Made: Shiraz, Iran
  • DATES AH 1262 / 1845 CE
    DYNASTY Qajar
    PERIOD Qajar Period
    DIMENSIONS 6 1/4 x 7 1/2 in. (15.9 x 19.1 cm) Mount: 7 1/2 x 6 1/4 x 6 in. (19.1 x 15.9 x 15.2 cm)  (show scale)
    SIGNATURE Signed and dated
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in Great Hall, 1st Floor
    ACCESSION NUMBER 36.940
    CREDIT LINE Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Frederic B. Pratt
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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    CAPTION Lutf 'Ali Suratgar Shirazi (Persian, active 1802-1871). Mirror Case, AH 1262 / 1845 CE. Ink, opaque watercolor, metallic pigment, and gold on papier mâché under a lacquered varnish; silvered glass and detailed leather, 6 1/4 x 7 1/2 in. (15.9 x 19.1 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Frederic B. Pratt, 36.940. Creative Commons-BY
    IMAGE interior, 36.940_interior_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
    "CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Octagon lacquered mirror case and mirror consisting of a frame for the mirror and hinged cover. The case is made of lacquered pasteboard with opaque watercolor, gilt pigment, and crushed metallic pigment, and the mirror is edged in strips of leather. The exterior is rendered in a variation on the rose and nightingale theme, gracefully embellished with the image of a nightingale in an airy rose design on a deep brown ground speckled with gold. The exterior edges of the cover are decorated with minute, repeated stylized leaf and flower patterns in gilt pigment on red and black grounds. The interior of the case depicts an eclectic group of eight Western-inspired figures, both religious and secular, displaying a combination of European and Persian costumes ranging from the 17th through early 19th centuries and set against a lush, green landscape of waterfalls, lakes, a mountain range, and a tree. The figures are grouped without scale or thematic connection. The juxtaposition of traditional flowers and birds and Western-derived themes reflects the tendency of blending post-Renaissance European artistic styles with native Persian idioms during the later Qajar period in Iran. The extensive use of modeling in the treatment of the garments of the figures as well as in the bird-and-flower design on the front surface contribute to the European flavor of this work.
    RECORD COMPLETENESS Best (90%)
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