Jul 16, 2009
Jul 16, 2009

Black and White Bird Perched on a Shrub

Black and White Bird Perched on a Shrub


Shafi' Abbasi


Opaque watercolor, ink, and gold on paper

Sheet: 16.1 x 25 cm (6 5/16 x 9 13/16 in.); Image: 7.7 x 13.4 cm (3 1/16 x 5 1/4 in.)

Andrew R. and Martha Holden Jennings Fund 1971.84



In Iran between the 1630s and 1650s, the court painter Shafi’ ‘Abbasi, son of the renowned painter Riza ‘Abbasi, specialized in a new fashion depicting naturalistic plants and birds, some adapted from European sources such as botanical engravings or herbals. Several have been identified as patterns for textiles, evidenced by pricked holes along the contours, which allowed designs to be transferred to another surface. The inscription indicates that Shafi’ ‘Abbasi made this painting for Shah Abbas II in 1651-52. Presumably, he copied this composition from a European engraving.

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