Fragmentary plaque

Detail of a pattern
Image 1 of 1

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At A Glance

  • Period

    17th century
  • Geography

  • Material

  • Dimension

    H x W: 7.7 x 26.9 cm (3 1/16 x 10 9/16 in)
  • Accession Number



Object Details

  • Description

    Fragment of a frieze. Pierced steel. Two medallions containing an Arabic inscription in naskh script.
  • Inscriptions

    Small cartouche:
    ya muhyi 'l-amwat
    "O revivifier of the dead"
    Large cartouche:
    wa-salli 'ala 'l-imam al-Hasan al-Mujtaba
    wa-salli 'ala 'l-imam al-Hasan al-Mujtaba
  • Provenance

    Possibly 1931-1939
    Edward Beghian, London, method of acquisition unknown [1]
    Hagop S. Andonian, New York, as an agent for Edward Beghian, London [2]
    From 1939
    Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from Hagop S. Andonian, New York [3]
    [1] See Esin Atil, W.T. Chase, Paul Jett “Islamic Metalwork in the Freer Gallery of Art” [exhibition catalog] (Washington, D.C., Freer Gallery of Art, Smithsonian Institution, 1985), pp. 195-196, cat. no. 28. The provenance notes it was purchased from Edward Beghian, and further adds, “A pierced plaque thought to be from the tomb of Shah Tahmasp was once owned by Beghian and exhibited in London in 1931. This may be the same piece as the Freer example. London, 1931, no. 278G.” However, Binyon, et al, in “Persian Miniature Painting: Including a Critical Descriptive catalogue of the Miniatures Exhibited at Burlington House, January-March, 1931” does not include this exhibition number. Additionally, see object file for copy of Freer gallery of Art “List of Objects Contemplated for Purchase by the Freer Gallery of Art,” approved by Secretary of the Smithsonian C. G. Abbot on July 17, 1939. Item no. 3 is described as “1 cut steel inscription, Persian, 16th century.” The object was purchased from H. S. Andonian, “acting for E. Beghian, London”. See also object file for 1939 curator note by Grace Dunham Guest, “In a letter dated February 2, 1939, the former owner of this piece, E. Beghian, states that “it comes most probably from the mausoleum of Shah Tahmasp.” I can find nothing to support this attribution, but the inscription is one appropriate to a tomb.” Edward Beghian (1876-1962) was a dealer in carpets and antiques, with a gallery first at 18 Dover Street, then 37 Berkeley Street, London, between 1924 and1939.
    [2] See note 1. Hagop Simon Andonian (H. S. Andonian) (1887-1967) was a merchant, business administrator, and executive in New York, NY. Born in Istanbul, Turkey, Andonian arrived in the United States in the early 1910s and worked as a secretary in New York, NY. He accompanied the U.S. Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, Henry Morgenthau Sr. to Constantinople (now Istanbul), where he served as a secretary between 1913 and 1916. Andonian returned to the U. S. in 1916 and resumed work as a secretary, then manager, in various industries. He became a U.S. citizen in 1930 and married Jeanne Beghian in 1932. By 1942, Andonian was the director of Dikran G. Kelekian’s (1867-1951) gallery, and by 1950 he was president of his own “wholesale merchant” business.
    [3] See notes 1 and 2.
    Research updated October 11, 2023
  • Collection

    Freer Gallery of Art Collection
  • Exhibition History

    Islamic Art (May 9, 1993 to June 3, 1997)
    From Concept to Context: Approaches to Asian and Islamic Calligraphy (July 28, 1986 to February 6, 1987)
    Islamic Metalwork in the Freer Gallery of Art (September 27, 1985 to November 17, 1986)
    Centennial Exhibition, Galleries 6 and 7 (February 25, 1956 to April 10, 1962)
    Untitled Exhibition, Islamic Manuscripts, Pottery, Metalwork, and Glass (April 12, 1955 to November 21, 1955)
    Untitled Exhibition, Islamic Arts, 1947 (October 6, 1947 to February 25, 1956)
    Untitled Exhibition, Islamic Manuscripts (May 1, 1945 to September 25, 1947)
    Untitled Exhibition, Persian and Near Eastern Art (May 5, 1933 to September 24, 1947)
  • Previous custodian or owner

    Edward Beghian (1876-1962)
    Hagop Simon Andonian (1887-1968)
  • Origin

  • Credit Line

    Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
  • Type

    Jewelry and Ornament
  • Restrictions and Rights

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