(Turkish, active 1526–56)
Ink, gum tempera, and gold on paper
Sheet: 17.3 x 40.2 cm (6 13/16 x 15 13/16 in.)
Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1944.492
The lion head and phoenix head are part of the foliage, like fantastical blossoms.
A dragon lunges toward a pearl in the form of a seal inscribed with a verse from the Koran: “And I commit my case unto God” (40:44). In his front claw, the dragon grasps two flowering branches that magically produce a variety of blooms, including a lion that bites the dragon’s neck and a phoenix, who competes for the pearl.
Sahkulu was trained by Persian artists, as were many artists of Mughal India during the 1500s. He joined the Ottoman imperial painting atelier in Istanbul in 1526 and became the head in 1545.
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