Historical period(s)
Safavid period, late 17th century
Medium
Steel
Dimensions
H x W x D: 14 x 38.5 x 0.2 cm (5 1/2 x 15 3/16 x 1/16 in)
Geography
Iran
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Collection
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
F1997.21
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Jewelry and Ornament, Metalwork
Type

Plaque

Keywords
Iran, piercing, Safavid period (1501 - 1722), WWII-era provenance
Provenance

Kitabchi (died 1976), Iran and Lausanne, Switzerland [1]

From 1997
Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from Mrs. Susanne Vallabh, Nyon, Switzerland through Hamid Atighetchi, London, in 1997 [2]

Notes:

[1] According to Curatorial Note 3, Massumeh Farhad, July 7, 1997, in the object record.

[2] See note 1.

Previous Owner(s)

Mrs. Susanne Vallabh
Kitabchi died 1976

Label

In seventeenth-century Iran, artists used steel not only for arms and armor, but also to create intricate decorative elements. This finely cut plaque is one from a series of ten intended to decorate the entrance of a tomb or commemorative structure. Crisply outlined, the inscription is written in an elegant thuluth script and juxtaposed against a delicate floral scroll.  The plaque refers to the twelfth and last imam of Shi'ism, the official religion of Iran, as a warrior and defender of the truth.  Known as the Mahdi (Savior), he is believed to return on the day of judgment.

Published References
  • Thomas Lawton, Thomas W. Lentz. Beyond the Legacy: Anniversary Acquisitions for the Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. vol. 1 Washington, 1998. pp. 154-155.
Collection Area(s)
Arts of the Islamic World
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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