attributed to Sahkulu (Turkish)
ink, gold, opaque watercolors on paper, Sheet: 17.30 x 40.20 cm (6 3/4 x 15 13/16 inches). Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1944.492
In this masterful drawing, a fierce undulating dragon entangled in swirling foliage is under attack from a lion above while assaulting a phoenix whose body dissolves into floral and foliate forms. The lion’s body undergoes a comparable zoomorphic transformation. This drawing represents the finest of the saz style, admired for elaborately curving flora and foliation that flourished in the mid 1500s. The style was led by the Iranian-trained artist, Sahkulu, who joined the Ottoman imperial painting atelier in Istanbul in 1526 and became the head of the atelier in 1545.
A verse from the Qur’an, 40:44, is inscribed in the stamp: "And I commit my case unto God."