Pen box decorated with hunting scenes

Oblong with rounded ends, slightly convex top and sliding compartment. Decorated on top and sides with hunting scenes and on underside with flora and fauna.

TOP: Five superimposed registers with hunting scenes in an overall landscape setting representing (from top to bottom): 1. Two riders chasing a pair of gazelles. 2. A kneeling hunter aiming a rifle at a pair of gazelles. 3. A mounted falconer. 4. A rider spearing a pair of wild boar and attended by an assistant also holding a spear. 5. A rider killing a lion with a sword and attended by an assistant with a spear.

Right Side: A gazelle hunt in a landscape setting with buildings in the background. The hunters include 2 pairs of mounted horsemen (one rider holds a falcon and one a rifle), a dog chasing a herd of gazelle, and a gunbearer on foot.

Left Side: At left, a bear hunt with a bear being roped by a mounted hunter and jabbed with a spear by an attendant on foot. At right, a trio of horsemen including one galloping along with a head turned and arm raised (as if to track a falcon?), another standing still to watch his companion, and a third riding off towards the right. Both left and right parts of this scene take place in a landscape flanked by groups of buildings.

Sliding End: Three men in a landscape setting with architectural background. One figure in the center is resting on the ground, on at left is walking with a stick over his shoulder, one at right is mounted on horseback and chasing two gazelles.

Bottom: Scene composed on the horizontal and featuring vine scroll growing from a central trunk and laden with bunches of grapes. The leaves and branches shelter various birds and animals, including: a rabbit or hare nibbling at a bunch of grapes, 3 peafowl (1 pair and 1 single), a quail(?), a small gazelle or deer. Enframed in a thin band of pink blossoms and green leaves.

Maker(s)
Artist: Najaf Ali
Historical period(s)
Qajar period, 1853-1854
Medium
Papier-maché, painted and lacquered
Dimensions
H x W x D: 4 x 4.1 x 24 cm (1 9/16 x 1 5/8 x 9 7/16 in)
Geography
Iran
Credit Line
Gift of Mrs. George C. Keiser
Collection
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
F1992.58a-b
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Container, Lacquer
Type

Pen box

Keywords
bear, boar, deer, dog, falcon, gazelle, hunting, Iran, landscape, lion, papier-maché, Qajar period (1779 - 1925), rabbit, writing, WWII-era provenance
Provenance

To about 1953
Dr. Nabil, to about 1953 [1]

From about 1953 to 1983
Mr. and Mrs. George C. Keiser, Washington, DC, purchased from Dr. Nabil in about 1953 [2]

From 1983
Freer Gallery of Art, given by Mrs. George C. Keiser in 1983 [3]

Notes:

[1] According to the donor, her husband purchased this object in approximately 1953 from a Persian, Dr. Nabil (see Curatorial Note 3 in object record).

[2] See note 1.

[3] Transferred from the Freer Study Collection to the Freer Permanent Collection (see Curatorial Note 3, Elizabeth F. Duley, December 17, 1992, in the object record).

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

Mrs. George C. Keiser
Dr. Nabil

Description

Oblong with rounded ends, slightly convex top and sliding compartment. Decorated on top and sides with hunting scenes and on underside with flora and fauna.

TOP: Five superimposed registers with hunting scenes in an overall landscape setting representing (from top to bottom): 1. Two riders chasing a pair of gazelles. 2. A kneeling hunter aiming a rifle at a pair of gazelles. 3. A mounted falconer. 4. A rider spearing a pair of wild boar and attended by an assistant also holding a spear. 5. A rider killing a lion with a sword and attended by an assistant with a spear.

Right Side: A gazelle hunt in a landscape setting with buildings in the background. The hunters include 2 pairs of mounted horsemen (one rider holds a falcon and one a rifle), a dog chasing a herd of gazelle, and a gunbearer on foot.

Left Side: At left, a bear hunt with a bear being roped by a mounted hunter and jabbed with a spear by an attendant on foot. At right, a trio of horsemen including one galloping along with a head turned and arm raised (as if to track a falcon?), another standing still to watch his companion, and a third riding off towards the right. Both left and right parts of this scene take place in a landscape flanked by groups of buildings.

Sliding End: Three men in a landscape setting with architectural background. One figure in the center is resting on the ground, on at left is walking with a stick over his shoulder, one at right is mounted on horseback and chasing two gazelles.

Bottom: Scene composed on the horizontal and featuring vine scroll growing from a central trunk and laden with bunches of grapes. The leaves and branches shelter various birds and animals, including: a rabbit or hare nibbling at a bunch of grapes, 3 peafowl (1 pair and 1 single), a quail(?), a small gazelle or deer. Enframed in a thin band of pink blossoms and green leaves.

Inscription(s)

Inscribed at upper end of top: Ya Shah-i Najaf/1270.

Collection Area(s)
Arts of the Islamic World
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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