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At A Glance

On View
  • Period

  • Geography

  • Material

    Brass, incised and inlaid with black and red compounds
  • Dimension

    H x Diam: 35.8 × 23.6 cm (14 1/8 × 9 5/16 in)
  • Accession Number



Object Details

  • Patron

  • Description

    This elegant Mashal or lampstand in brass is engraved with an allover design of arabesque in intertwined split-palmettes arranged in horizontal registers. The shaft is divided into five panels each separated by a raised circular band. Each of the panels is shaped in twelve vertical facets. Elegant nasta'liq in Persian adorns the top and base sections. The owner's name Ruhu'alla is incorporated in one of the calligraphic registers around the base. The engraved decoration is inlaid in a black composition.
  • Inscriptions

    An inscription encircles the top and a second one appears around the base. Each band is divided into four cartouches and is written in nasta'liq. The upper verses are from the 427th ghazal (poem with a minimum of five couplets) of the celebrated poet Hafez of Shiraz (d. 1393), which read as follows:
    The candle is like a moth heading for your light /
    Ecstatic for your state, my senses have taken flight
    Happily the candle lost its light to a breeze /
    As if a moth reached your candle's light
    The lower inscription also refers to light and maintains:
    All night I burn love instead of light/ disappointed is not surprising
    It is from a candle that was dark next to the light/
    The owner of this light, Ruhallah
    The owner of this light, Ruhallah
  • Provenance

    Early 20th century
    Unidentified American diplomat, collected in Persia [1]
    To 2013
    Private collection, Santa Cruz, California, through inheritance from an unidentified American diplomat
    Sale, Scotts Valley, California, Robert Slawinski Auctioneers, Inc., February 17, 2013, lot 100
    From 2013 to 2019
    Shariar M. Ghassemi of Art Passages, San Francisco, purchased at auction, Robert Slawinski Auctioneers, Inc., Scotts Valley, California, February 17, 2013, lot no. 100 [2]
    From 2019
    Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from Shariar M. Ghassemi of Art Passages, San Francisco, California
    [1] See Invoice from Art Passages, object file, Collections Management Office. See also email from Shariar Ghassemi dated May 24, 2019, copy in object file, Collections Management Office.
    [2] See note 1.
  • Collection

    Freer Gallery of Art Collection
  • Exhibition History

    Engaging the Senses (October 14, 2017 - ongoing)
  • Previous custodian or owner

    Robert Slawinski Auctioneers
    Shariar M. Ghassemi
  • Origin

  • Credit Line

    Purchase – In memory of Dr. Djamchid Darvich-Kodjouri and Mrs. Charlotte Darvich-Kodjouri
  • Type

    Furniture and Furnishing
  • On View

    Freer Gallery 04: Engaging the Senses
  • Restrictions and Rights

    Usage Conditions Apply

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