A fruit tree: an illustration from Nuzhatnama-yi ala'i (Excellent book of Council) by Shahmardan ibn Abi al-Khayr; recto: illustration and text; verso: text

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At A Glance

  • Period

    Probably 14th century
  • Geography

  • Material

    Ink and color on paper
  • Dimension

    H x W: 6.4 x 12 cm (2 1/2 x 4 3/4 in)
  • Accession Number



Object Details

  • Description

    Mounted with F1937.38. Detached folio from a dispersed copy of Nuzhatnama-yi Ala'i (Excellent book of counsel) by Shahmardan ibn Abi al-Khayr; text: Persian in black and red naskhi script; recto: illustration and text; explanation on dried and pulverized leaves of a tree as a remedy for diseases; verso: text: Species of black, red, white grapes and scammony and their characteristics; one of a group of three folios.
  • Previous custodian or owner

    Rudolf Meyer Riefstahl (1880-1936)
    Elizabeth T. Riefstahl (1889 - 1986)
  • Provenance

    At least 1914-1924
    Rudolf Meyer Riefstahl (1880-1936), method of acquisition unknown [1]
    Rudolf Meyer-Riefstahl and Elizabeth T. Riefstahl (1889-1986), owned jointly upon marriage [2]
    Elizabeth T. Riefstahl , inherited upon death of her husband [3]
    From 1937
    Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from Elizabeth T. Riefstahl [4]
    [1] See Philipp Walter Schulz, “Die Persich-Islamische Miniaturmalerei” [book] (Leipzig: Verlag von Karl W. Hiersemann, 1914), vol. 1, pl. C. See also January 4, 1980 conservation note in object file for F1937.38, which states, “this page was detached from 37.39.” This suggests that until 1980 the pages were attached and that the inclusion of F1937.39 in the 1914 Schulz work, “Die Persich-Islamische Miniaturmalerei”, indicates that F1937.38 was also in the possession of Dr. Rudolf Meyer-Riefstahl in 1914. Meyer Riefstahl was a German-American art historian specializing in medieval Islamic art. At the beginning of World War I, Meyer Riefstahl relocated from Paris, France to New York City, where he eventually became a professor at the Institute of Fine Arts.
    [2] See object files for copies of letters from Elizabeth Riefstahl to J.E. Lodge, dated April 16, 1937, April 21, 1937, April 28, 1937, and June 4, 1937; and letters from J.E. Lodge to Elizabeth Riefstahl, dated 19 April, 1937, June 1, 1937, and June 5, respectively, regarding manuscripts which the Freer Gallery of Art may wish to buy from the Riefstahl collection. See also May 4, 1937 Freer Gallery of Art note in object file acknowledging receipt of manuscripts from Elizabeth Riefstahl, for examination by Lodge. Elizabeth Titzel Riefstahl was an international journalist who traveled independently through the Near East during the 1920s. She married academic and scholar Rudolf Meyer Riefstahl in 1924 and the two traveled extensively overseas and jointly published several monographs. Following Rudolf’s death in 1936, Elizabeth worked at the Brooklyn Museum in New York, first as Librarian and then as Assistant Curator for Ancient Art. The couple were well-regarded art historians and collectors of Islamic and Near Eastern art.
    [3] See notes 2 and 4.
    [4] See copy of Elizabeth T. Riefstahl invoice to Freer Gallery of Art, June 5th, 1937, and approved on June 1, 1937, in object file.
    Research updated February 8, 2023
  • Origin

  • Credit Line

    Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
  • Type

  • Restrictions and Rights

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