- Museum number
Bird study / Seated page. Two single-page drawings mounted on each side of a detached album folio.
Side A: drawing illustrating a pheasant in motion, with head drawn in five different positions and set within a detailed and dense floral landscape, with a small inscription bearing a false attribution to Shah Quli at lower centre of drawing; bordered on each side by two gold strips outlined in black and gold and framed by a rose-coloured paper border illuminated with gold designs. Narrow border band containing 12 small panels of Persian poetry appearing in four panels above and below the drawing, and two panels at each side of the drawing; and wide margin illuminated by a dense forest landscape inhabited by animals.
Side B: portrait of a seated page with a cup and bottle.
Ink and gold on paper.
- Production date
16thC(late) (A side)
1600 (circa, B side)
Height: 10.20 - 10.40 centimetres (drawing (recto))
Height: 10.70 centimetres (drawing (verso))
Height: 31.20 centimetres (sheet)
Width: 15.80 centimetres (drawing (recto))
Width: 5.40 centimetres (drawing (verso))
Width: 44.20 centimetres (sheet)
- Curator's comments
- In the second half of the 16th century, royal patronage of the arts declined in Safavid Iran. Artists made their living increasingly from single-page paintings and drawings to be included in albums, rather than from illustrated manuscripts. Even this study of a pheasant was valued and deemed worth the addition of a false signature. The attribution associates the work with Shah Quli, the Safavid artist who headed the studio of Suleyman the Magnificent (r. 1520–66) and who died about 1556. Regardless of who he may have been, the clearly skilled artist managed to catch the bird in five stages of motion, each emphasised by lines of variable thickness.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2001, British Museum, Addis Gallery, Birds in Islamic Paintings
1977 London, BM, Animals in Art
- Acquisition date
- Middle East
- Registration number