string(20) "edanmdm:fsg_F1935.23" Folio from a Shahnama (Book of kings) by Firdawsi (died 1020); recto: Iskandar (Alexander) and the talking tree; verso: text - National Museum of Asian Art

Folio from a Shahnama (Book of kings) by Firdawsi (died 1020); recto: Iskandar (Alexander) and the talking tree; verso: text

Detail of a pattern
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At A Glance

  • Period

    ca. 1330
  • Geography

    Tabriz, Iran
  • Material

    Ink, opaque watercolor and gold on paper
  • Dimension

    H x W: 40.8 x 30.1 cm (16 1/16 x 11 7/8 in)
  • Accession Number



Object Details

  • Description

    Detached folio from a dispersed copy of the Shahnama (Book of kings) by Firdawsi; text: Persian in black naskh script, titles in gold naskh outlined in black; recto: illustration and text, Iskandar and the talking tree, six columns, 21 lines; verso: text unrelated to the recto, Jahan takes Afrasiyab's message to Kay Khusraw, six columns, 31 lines; one of a group of 16 folios (F1923.5, F1930.78, F1930.79, F1935.23, F1935.24, F1938.3, F1942.2, S1986.100, S1986.101, S1986.102, S1986.103, S1986.104, S1986.105.1, S1986.105.2, S1986.106, S1986.107).
  • Provenance

    ?- to at least 1930
    Jacques Doucet (1853-1929), method of acquisition unknown [1]
    Auction, Paris, Galerie George Petit, “Collection Jacques Doucet: Céramique d’Extrême-Orient,” lots 101 and 102 [2]
    Charles Vignier (1863-1934), purchased at auction [3]
    Held in sequestration by City of Paris [4]
    H. Kevorkian, New York, purchased from the estate of Charles Vignier, through sequestrator [5]
    From 1935
    Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from Hagop Kevorkian, New York. [6]
    [1] See Galerie Georges Petit, “ Collection Jacques Doucet: Céramique d’Extrême-Orient: Bronzes, Sculptures, Peintures Chinoises et Japonaises Laques du Japon, Faïences de la Perse de la Transcaspie et de la Mésopotamie Miniatures Persanes” [auction catalog] (Paris: Galerie Georges Petit, November 28, 1930) lots 101 and 102, pl. XXXII. The folio is described as “Page de manuscrit provenant d’un “Shah Nameh”. Le roi Bahram s’arrête devant l’arbre Wakwak que fleurissent des têtes d’hommes et d’animaux.” Jacques Doucet was a couturier and art collector.
    [2] See note 1 and note 3.
    [3] See April 30, 1935, letter from Madame J. Vignier to J.E. Lodge, where she explains that her late husband Charles Vignier (1863-1934), a Swiss-born poet, writer, art collector and dealer of antiquities, was retained by H. Kevorkian to purchase the two Shahnama miniatures at the auction of the Doucet Collection [see note 1]. She claims Kevorkian never paid Charles Vignier. See original letter in object file for F1935.23.
    [4] See April 24, and May 2, 1935, letters from Maurice Kastler, Administrateur Judiciaire, Tribunal Civil de la Seine of the City of Paris, to J.E. Lodge, wherein he explains that after the February 5, 1934, death of Charles Vignier, the two miniatures were ordered by the Court to be placed into sequestration, and that he, a judicial administrator of the Seine Civil Court, was the sequestrator. He notes that the cause of this sequestration was due to Kevorkian having paid only a deposit on the purchase of the miniatures, and the remaining purchase price remained to be settled. See original letter in object file.
    [5] Hagop Kevorkian (1872-1962) was a dealer and collector of Islamic Art with eponymous galleries in New York and Paris. See July 12, 1935, sworn affidavit of Maurice Kastler, and witnessed by Vice-Consul of the United States of America at Paris, France, stating that he sold to Mr. Kevorkian these two Persian miniatures from the auction of the collection of the late Jacques Doucet on November 28, 1930 auction [see note 1]. The affidavit states that “Mr. Hegop [sic] Kevorkian, having paid the agreed price, is the owner of these two miniatures and can dispose of them freely.” See original affidavit in object file for F1935.23.
    [6] The Freer Gallery of Art paid H. Kevorkian in installments, the first on July 29, 1935, and the last on October 8, 1935, and approved on March 27, 1935. See objects’ files for copies of invoices.
    Research updated December 1, 2022
  • Collection

    Freer Gallery of Art Collection
  • Exhibition History

    Engaging the Senses (October 14, 2017 - ongoing)
    The Shahnama: 1000 Years of the Persian Book of Kings (October 23, 2010 to April 17, 2011)
    Arts of the Islamic World (May 3, 1998 to January 3, 2016)
    Islamic Art (May 9, 1993 to June 3, 1997)
    From the Hand of Mani (January 18, 1985 to July 5, 1985)
    Art of the Near East (August 21, 1977 to December 14, 1979)
    Near Eastern Art (June 15, 1973 to May 7, 1975)
    2500 Years of Persian Art—Paintings, Metalwork (February 10, 1972 to June 15, 1973)
    Near Eastern Art—Paintings, Metalwork (August 18, 1967 to February 10, 1972)
    Special Exhibition Afghanistan (September 3, 1963 to June 5, 1964)
    Near Eastern Art (January 1, 1963 to August 18, 1967)
    Persian Art (January 1, 1963 to September 3, 1963)
    Centennial Exhibition, Galleries 6 and 7 (February 25, 1956 to April 10, 1962)
    Untitled Exhibition, Islamic Manuscripts, 1955 (April 12, 1955 to December 16, 1955)
    Special Exhibition (February 9, 1954 to April 20, 1954)
    Untitled Exhibition, Islamic Manuscripts, 1947 (October 6, 1947 to February 25, 1956)
    Untitled Exhibition, Persian Manuscripts (May 5, 1933 to September 22, 1947)
  • Previous custodian or owner

    Georges Demotte (1877-1923)
    Jacques Doucet (1853-1929)
    City of Paris
    Hagop Kevorkian (1872-1962)
  • Origin

    Tabriz, Iran
  • Credit Line

    Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
  • Type

  • Restrictions and Rights

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