Taffeta, brocaded; silk and metallic thread, Overall: 37.8 x 40 cm (14 7/8 x 15 3/4 in.). Gift of Mrs. Fred R. White 1943.91
A luxurious textile like this would have been used for courtly robes or coats in Safavid Iran. The bird-and-flower motif is known as gul-u-bulbul in Persian, meaning “rose and nightingale.” The motif references the poetic image of a nightingale plaintively singing to an indifferent rose as a metaphor for unrequited human love as well as the soul’s desire for mystical union with the divine.
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