Folio from a Sulwan al-muta (Solace of pleasure) by Ibn Zafar; recto: text, ; verso: illustration: The horse and the boar

Folio from a dispersed copy of Sulwan al-muta by Ibn Zafar; text: Arabic in black naskh script; recto: text: 13 lines; verso: illustration and text: The horse and the boar, 3 lines; one of a group of 2 folios.

Maker(s)
Author: ibn Zafar
Historical period(s)
Mamluk period, ca.1335
Medium
Opaque watercolor, ink, and gold on paper
Dimensions
H x W: 24.9 x 17.6 cm (9 13/16 x 6 15/16 in)
Geography
Probably Egypt
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Collection
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
F1954.1
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Manuscript
Type

Manuscript folio

Keywords
boar, Egypt, horse, Mamluk period (1250 - 1517), man, WWII-era provenance
Provenance
Provenance information is currently unavailable
Description

Folio from a dispersed copy of Sulwan al-muta by Ibn Zafar; text: Arabic in black naskh script; recto: text: 13 lines; verso: illustration and text: The horse and the boar, 3 lines; one of a group of 2 folios.

Label

The Sulwan al-muta' (Solace of Pleasure), composed in 1159 by Ibn Zafar of Sicily, is a series of animal fables illustrating the consequences of human behavior. Written as a moral and ethical guide, it relates closely to the Kalila va Dimna, one of the most frequently illustrated texts of the medieval Muslim world.

The painting relates to a story about the effects of corruption and lying. According to the text, a horse, the embodiment of the liar's soul, crosses a river.  His saddle and collar swell with water and almost suffocate him. The horse asks a passing boar for help. Not satisfied with the horse's explanation for his pitiful condition, the boar considers him guilty of some wrongdoing and leaves the animal to his fate.

The text does not mention the turbaned man on the right, perhaps the narrator.

Published References
  • Milo Cleveland Beach. The Imperial Image: Paintings for the Mughal Court. Exh. cat. Washington, 1981. p. 43, fig. 6.
  • Timurid Art and Culture: Iran and Central Asia in the Fifteenth Century. Leiden and New York. pp. 84-5, fig. 10.
  • Dr. Esin Atil. Art of the Arab World. Exh. cat. Washington, 1975. cat. 53, pp. 112-113.
  • Robert Hillenbrand. Mamluk and Ilkhanid Bestiaries: Convention and Experiment. no. 20 Washington and Ann Arbor. pp. 157, 187, fig. 43.
Collection Area(s)
Arts of the Islamic World
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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