string(19) "edanmdm:fsg_F1940.9" Circular ornament - National Museum of Asian Art

Circular ornament

Detail of a pattern
Image 1 of 1

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At A Glance

  • Period

    16th-17th century
  • Geography

  • Material

    Steel overlaid with gold
  • Dimension

    H x W x D: 4.7 x 4.7 cm (1 7/8 x 1 7/8 in)
  • Accession Number



Object Details

  • Description

    The eight-lobed medallion with circular openings between the lobes id decorated with a concentric scroll bearing lotus blossoms and leaves. Placed over the scroll is the basmala "In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful," the phrase that appears at the beginning of each chapter of the Qur'an. The inscriptions and the band framing the medallion are overlaid with gold.
    The holes around the plaque must have been used to affix the plaque with nails to an architectural element or furniture. The basmala is a popular pious evocation, and this plaque could have been used both in religious and secular context.
  • Inscriptions

    Basmala inscription in naskhi script, "In the name of God, The Compassionate, the Merciful."
  • Provenance

    At least 1938-1939-1940
    Edward Beghian (1876-1962), method of acquisition unknown [1]
    From 1940
    Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from Edward Beghian through H. S. Andonian, New York, NY [2]
    [1] See Arthur Upham Pope, “A Survey of Persian Art from Prehistoric Times to the Present” [book], (New York, London: Oxford University Press, 1938-1939), vol. 6, pl. 1390H. The object’s provenance is described as “Possession Beghian.”
    Edward Beghian (E. Beghian) (1876-1962) was a dealer in London, England, between 1925 and 1940 who specialized primarily in the sale of carpets and Persian antiques and paintings. He exhibited objects in the 1931, “International Exhibition of Persian Art” at the Royal Academy, London. Objects from the Beghian collection may also be found at the British Museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Colonial Williamsburg, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
    [2] See Freer Gallery of Art Purchase List after 1920.
    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. Between 1913 and at least 1915, Andonian served as the secretary (or clerk) to Henry Morgenthau Sr. (1856-1946), the US Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire in Istanbul between 1913 and 1916. During his tenure, Ambassador Morgenthau tried to persuade the US Government to intervene in the Armenian Genocide, but he was unsuccessful. As a result, Ambassador Morgenthau resigned and published his memoir, “Ambassador Morgenthau’s Story” (1918) as a response to the US Government’s inaction. It has been said that Andonian had significant input in the book. Andonian returned to the United States in 1916 and worked in New York City as a secretary, commissioned merchant, and manager in unknown industries in the 1920s and 1930s. By 1942, Andonian was the director of Dirkran G. Kelekian’s (1867-1951) antiques gallery, but by 1950 he was the president of his own a wholesale merchant business, possibly named Promotex, Inc.
    Research updated June 30, 2023
  • Collection

    Freer Gallery of Art Collection
  • Exhibition History

    Arts of the Islamic World (May 3, 1998 to January 3, 2016)
    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)
  • Origin

  • Credit Line

    Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
  • Type

    Jewelry and Ornament
  • Restrictions and Rights

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