Silsilat al-dhahab (Chain of gold) by Jami (d. 1492); Imam Zayn al-Abidin visits the Ke’ba

Manuscript; Silsilat al-dhahab (Chain of gold) by Jami; Persian in black nasta’liq script; headings in gold; 146 folios with 1 sarlawh (folio 1 verso), 2 unwans (fols. 85verso, 121verso), and 4 paintings (fols. 66 recto, 84 recto, 102verso, 139 recto); inscriptions (flyleaf, fols. 68 recto, 82 recto, 85 recto, 105verso, 119 recto, 121 recto, 128verso, 146 recto); standard page: 2 columns, 11 lines of text; one of a group of 2: cover of the manuscript accessioned as S.1986.44.2.
Binding: The manuscript was in a lacquer-painted binding, the binding has been removed, the manuscript is now bound in brown leather over paper pasteboards stamped with the name of Vever.

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Maker(s)
Calligrapher: Abd al-Ghani al-Hanafi Ibrahim al-Astarabadi
Historical period(s)
Safavid period, 1549-50 (956 A.H.)
Medium
Opaque watercolor, ink, and gold on paper
Dimensions
H x W (overall): 25.6 x 16.7 cm (10 1/16 x 6 9/16 in)
Geography
Iran, Tabriz?
Credit Line
Purchase — Smithsonian Unrestricted Trust Funds, Smithsonian Collections Acquisition Program, and Dr. Arthur M. Sackler
Collection
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
S1986.44.1
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Manuscript
Type

Manuscript

Keywords
Henri Vever collection, Iran, Islam, Ka'ba, Safavid period (1501 - 1722)
Provenance

?-no later than 1907
Reportedly Octave Homberg Senior (1844-1907) or Octave Homberg Junior (1876-1941), method of acquisition unknown [1]

?-1933
Unidentified collector, likely purchased at Galerie Georges Petite Auction [2]

1933
Sale, Paris, Hôtel Drouot, "Objets d'art de curiosité et d'ameublement, européens et orientaux, antiques, moyen-âge, Renaissance, XVIIIe siècle ... Provenant de la Collection d'un Amateur" March 15 and 16, 1933, lot 40 [3]

Probably 1933-1942
Henri Vever (1854-1942), likely purchased at Hôtel Drouot sale [4]

1942-1947
Jeanne Louise Monthiers (1861-1947), bequest of Henri Vever [5]

1947-1986
Francois Mautin (1907-2003), bequest of Jeanne Louise Monthiers and Henri Vever [6]

From 1986
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery purchased from Francois Mautin [7]

Notes:

[1] See annotation on verso of manuscript's first folio. See also Susan Nemazee, "Appendix 7: Chart of Recent Provenance" in "An Annotated and Illustrated Checklist of the Vever Collection," [exhibition catalogue] Glenn D. Lowry et al (Washington, DC: Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; Seattle and London: University of Washington Press, 1988), p. 400.

Octave Homberg Senior was a Censor of the Bank of France before becoming the Director of the Société Générale, one of the oldest banks in France. He amassed a diverse collection of fine arts, which included medieval European sculpture and Islamic manuscripts and decorative arts. His son, Octave Homberg Jr., was a French diplomat, banker, writer, and collector. As one of France's foremost financiers, Homberg Jr. served as the French financial agent in the United States and part of the Anglo-French Commission. In the early 1930s, Homberg fell into financial trouble and in 1931 sold the majority of his art collection, much of which he had inherited from his father. This work did not appear in that sale.

[2] See note 3.

[3] Hôtel Drouot, "Objets d'art de curiosité et d'ameublement, européens et orientaux, antiques, moyen-âge, Renaissance, XVIIIe siècle ... Provenant de la Collection d'un Amateur" [auction catalogue](Paris : March 15 and 16, 1933), lot 40.

[4] An accomplished French jeweler and collector, Henri Vever amassed a large collection of fine art. His collections of Japanese prints and Islamic manuscripts were widely respected, as Vever acquired pieces of exceptional quality and rarity. Intensely studying the visual aspects of Islamic art, loaning to exhibitions, and publishing on Islamic art, Vever quickly became one of the leading experts on Islamic painting and manuscripts. It is possible that Vever purchased this manuscript at the Hôtel Drouot auction referenced in note 3. This work was in Vever's collection at the time of his death in 1942.

[5] Upon Henri Vever's death on September 25, 1942, his wife, Jeanne Louise Monthiers inherited the work. See exhibits F and G of Agreement of Purchase and Sale of the Henri Vever Collection, January 9, 1986, copy in object file.

[6] Upon the death of Jeanne Louise Monthiers, as stipulated in the will of Henri Vever, the family's assets were divided evenly between his two grandchildren. His only grandson, Francois Mautin inherited the collection known as "The Henri Vever Collection of Oriental Art and Manuscripts Including Persian and Indian Art and Manuscripts." This object is part of that collection. See exhibits F and G as cited in note 5.

[7] The Arthur M. Sackler Gallery purchased the entirety of the collection from Francois Mautin on January 9, 1986. See purchase agreement, copy in object file.

Research completed on June 26, 2022.

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

Octave Homberg
Octave Marie Joseph Kérim Homberg Sr. 1844 - 1907
Henri Vever 1854-1942
Jeanne Louise Monthiers 1861 - 1947
Francois Mautin 1907 - 2003

Description

Manuscript; Silsilat al-dhahab (Chain of gold) by Jami; Persian in black nasta'liq script; headings in gold; 146 folios with 1 sarlawh (folio 1 verso), 2 unwans (fols. 85verso, 121verso), and 4 paintings (fols. 66 recto, 84 recto, 102verso, 139 recto); inscriptions (flyleaf, fols. 68 recto, 82 recto, 85 recto, 105verso, 119 recto, 121 recto, 128verso, 146 recto); standard page: 2 columns, 11 lines of text; one of a group of 2: cover of the manuscript accessioned as S.1986.44.2.
Binding: The manuscript was in a lacquer-painted binding, the binding has been removed, the manuscript is now bound in brown leather over paper pasteboards stamped with the name of Vever.

Inscription(s)

First page, rectangular sticker with blue border and perforated edges, " 883" "34506" "68709" written in black ink
First page, written in pencil, "10" underlined
First page, written in pencil, "No. 40" underlined twice
First page, written in pencil, "Homberg 33"
First page, written in pencil, "poxx n 70"
First page, written in pencil, "La Silsilat-al-Zahab"
First page, written in pencil, "(La Chaîne d'or) 1549"
First page, round sticker with "213" written in pencil
First page, written in pencil, circled "45"

Flyleaf: "the book of Silsilat al-dhahab of Mulana Jami."
Fol. 68 recto: "corrected from the copy not available to the Shi'a. Abd al-Ghani al-Hanafi al-Sunni [A. H.] 1285 [A.D. 1868-69]."
Fol. 82 recto: "written by Abd al-Ghani, the grammarian [A. H.] 1285 [A.D. 1868-69]."
Fol. 85 recto: "the writer recommends to place a number of articles such as pearls, pepper, carnations, white rock candy and agates together within a piece of cloth and adding the given prayer, a talisman would be ready. Whoever recites the prayer will have the object of his desire fall in love with him immediately."
Fol. 105 verso: "written by Abd al-Ghani."
Folio. 119 recto: "corrected by the servant of science Abd al-Ghani al-Zalum b. al-Hajj Muhammad Efendi al-Naqshbandi, the grammarian, for the sake of the owner of the book. God has knowledge. Glory is to him. From the book untouched by the Shi'ite [A. H.] 1285 [A.D. 1868-69]."
Fol. 121 recto: "On Monday the 4th of the month of Jumada I, someone [?] was enthroned with good wishes. Written in the month of Jumada II in the Year [A.H.] 1038 [A.D. 1628-29]."
Fol. 128 verso: "corrected by Abd al-Ghani for the sake of a prayer from the owner of the book as a refutation to the libertines, those who corrupted the text of the word of God. We are from God, and unto Him we shall return. O God, take vengeance upon them. Amen. [A. H.] 1285 [A.D. 1868-69]."
Fol. 146 recto: "this book was finished by the hand of the poor Isma'il b. Ibrahim al-Astarabadi. May God forgive the two of them; in the year [A.H.] 956 [A.D. 1549-50]."

Published References
  • Glenn D. Lowry, Susan Nemanzee. A Jeweler's Eye: Islamic Arts of the Book from the Vever Collection. Washington and Seattle. cat. 34, pp. 130-131.
  • Glenn D. Lowry, Milo Cleveland Beach, Elisabeth West FitzHugh, Susan Nemanzee, Janet Snyder. An Annotated and Illustrated Checklist of the Vever Collection. Washington and Seattle. cat. 177, pp. 148-149.
  • Abolala Soudavar, Milo Cleveland Beach. Art of the Persian Courts: Selections from the Art and History Trust Collection. New York. cat. 110, p. 201.
  • Marianna Shreve Simpson, Massumeh Farhad. Sultan Ibrahim Mirza's Haft Awrang: A Princely Manuscript from Sixteenth-Century Iran. Washington and New Haven. p. 369.
Collection Area(s)
Arts of the Islamic World
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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