Search engine for discovering works of Art, research articles, and books related to Art and Culture
ShareThis
Javascript must be enabled to continue!

Pen Box with Flowers, Birds, and Portraits

View through Harvard Museums
On the dark brown upper surface of this pen case, European portrait roundels of a man and a woman are separated by three bird-and- flower vignettes. These unite different flora, with the rose predominating at the center, its branching stem inhabited by a solitary red-crested bird and insects fluttering around it. Haydar Ali’s signature and the date of production appear in miniature white script in the spaces between the central bird-and- flower grouping and the flanking portraits. To add texture, the artist has used a technique combining wash and stippling in fine dots of pigment. The long sides of the pen case continue the bird- and- flower theme, expanding the botanical repertoire to include carnations, hazelnuts, and tulips. There are occasional, and presumably intentional, instances of visual ambiguity where what appear to be plants and flowers could be interpreted as insects. The base is painted in a solid red pigment with an overlying elegant scroll of flowers and palmettes executed in gold. The outer body of the extractable drawer follows the pattern of the base, while its end, built up to be flush with the surface of the outer case when the drawer is closed, is decorated with daisies, poppies, and an iris. The unadorned inner surface of the case reveals the method of construction through many layers of paper glued one upon another. A single word, muhkam (robust, strong), written at an indeterminate time, attests the physical integrity of the object. Haydar Ali, son of Muhammad Ismail, was active in the 1860s and 1870s and worked in the style of Najaf Ali. Several works signed by him are known.
Department of Islamic & Later Indian Art [Hadji Baba Rabbi House of Antiquities Teheran 1973] sold; to Stanford and Norma Jean Calderwood Belmont MA (1973-2002) gift; to Harvard Art Museums 2002. Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum The Norma Jean Calderwood Collection of Islamic Art
Title: Pen Box with Flowers, Birds, and Portraits
Description:
On the dark brown upper surface of this pen case, European portrait roundels of a man and a woman are separated by three bird-and- flower vignettes.
These unite different flora, with the rose predominating at the center, its branching stem inhabited by a solitary red-crested bird and insects fluttering around it.
Haydar Ali’s signature and the date of production appear in miniature white script in the spaces between the central bird-and- flower grouping and the flanking portraits.
To add texture, the artist has used a technique combining wash and stippling in fine dots of pigment.
The long sides of the pen case continue the bird- and- flower theme, expanding the botanical repertoire to include carnations, hazelnuts, and tulips.
There are occasional, and presumably intentional, instances of visual ambiguity where what appear to be plants and flowers could be interpreted as insects.
The base is painted in a solid red pigment with an overlying elegant scroll of flowers and palmettes executed in gold.
The outer body of the extractable drawer follows the pattern of the base, while its end, built up to be flush with the surface of the outer case when the drawer is closed, is decorated with daisies, poppies, and an iris.
The unadorned inner surface of the case reveals the method of construction through many layers of paper glued one upon another.
A single word, muhkam (robust, strong), written at an indeterminate time, attests the physical integrity of the object.
Haydar Ali, son of Muhammad Ismail, was active in the 1860s and 1870s and worked in the style of Najaf Ali.
Several works signed by him are known.

Related Results

Album of Drawings
Album of Drawings
1) Pen and brown ink brush and gray wash. 2) Pen and brown ink over black chalk. 3) 4) Black chalk. 5) Pen and brown ink over black chalk. 6) Pen and br...
Pen Box with Birds, Flowers, and Butterflies
Pen Box with Birds, Flowers, and Butterflies
The upper surface of this pen box (qalamdan) is divided into three lobed cartouches outlined in gold, their interstices filled with golden palmettes and flowers. A bird-and-flower ...
Pen Box with Flowers and Putti
Pen Box with Flowers and Putti
A roughly symmetrical composition of putti cavorting among acanthus leaves and blooming roses decorates the upper surface of this pen box. The same scheme appears on the sides, exc...
Box to Keep the Void from "Materials Lab" (book to be sent by artist to be enclosed in box)
Box to Keep the Void from "Materials Lab" (book to be sent by artist to be enclosed in box)
Box 25A, Box to Keep the Void, from "Materials Lab" Archival materials include: - 1 installation shot of Box to Keep the Void, 2005....
Biography Box: Peter Moore
Biography Box: Peter Moore
This is one of a series of special boxes - like the "Name Boxes", but even less common - that Maciunas made for friends. Each Biography Box contains an assortment of real and faux ...
Pen Box with Battle and Hunting Scenes
Pen Box with Battle and Hunting Scenes
On its upper surface, this late example of a Qajar lacquer pen case, signed by Asad Allah Dizfuli, displays a scene of epic battle. Densely packed cavalry troops flank groups of du...
Breechcloth
Breechcloth
Breechcloth; probably Yanktonai; 1860-1870Wool, porcupine quills, sinew, metal, horsehair, pigments; 117.5 x 28.5 cm.\RMV 710-9; Herman F.C. ten Kate collection; purchased from tra...
Wall light (one of a pair)
Wall light (one of a pair)
Glazed biscuit Chinese porcelain parrots of K'ang Hsi period; soft-paste Vincennes porcelain flowers; 19th century hard-paste flowers; gilt bronze...

Back to Top