- Museum number
Two pheasants in a chinoiserie landscape; single-page drawing on a detached album folio. Depiction of two pheasants surrounded by an ornamented, floral border consisting primarily of blue and gold; to the left, a large curved tree, with branches extending across the page.
Ink, opaque watercolour and gold on paper.
- Production date
Height: 22.70 centimetres (image)
Height: 29.10 centimetres (sheet)
Width: 27 centimetres (image)
Width: 44.70 centimetres (sheet)
- Curator's comments
- This skilfully rendered drawing shows a landscape with a gnarled tree, scrolling fungi and two pheasants amongst dense foliage. Drawings such as this reveal a far eastern inspired aesthetic resulting from the Mongol invasions of Iran and Central Asia and especially prevalent in the fifteenth century in these regions. They were collected in albums and often pasted onto equally ornate folios where they could be admired by princes and other courtly elite.
Amongst the Chinese forms and motifs that entered the Persian pictorial vocabulary were gnarled trees, fungi, dragons, phoenixes and birds amidst foliage, as seen here. In the early 15th century, at the courts of Timur's princely successors, artists' workshops were highly organised centres that influenced all the arts. Albums of chinoiserie designs and drawings such as this one were compiled and used as source or pattern books by painters, binders, woodworkers, saddlemakers, lacquer makers and other artisans. Some drawings became the basis for designs in other media, while others served as finished works of art. In this composition, both the calligraphic use of the ink and details such as the fungus on the tree trunk indicate a familiarity with Chinese painting.
This drawing has several close counterparts in an album in Berlin, which contains many designs for bookbindings and textiles. It was originally mis-attributed to the 17th century when it was registered.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2011 March-July, London, BM, 'No Equal in All the World: Artistic Legacies from Herat, Afghanistan'
2009 11 Dec-2010 10 May, Madrid, Canal de Isabel II, Treasures of the World’s Cultures
2009 1 May-20 Sep, Victoria, Royal BC Museum, Treasures of the World's Cultures
2001, British Museum, Addis Gallery, Birds in Islamic Paintings
- Acquisition date
- Middle East
- Registration number