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Opaque watercolor and gold on paper
Image: 21 x 12.4 cm (8 1/4 x 4 7/8 in.); Overall: 31.6 x 20.4 cm (12 7/16 x 8 1/16 in.)
Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1944.494.b
In the late 1500s, a new artistic aesthetic developed under the socially and economically conscious Shah ’Abbas I (reigned 1587–1629), who established Isfahan as the grand capital of Iran, improving its infrastructure and foreign trade with Europe, especially for the export of raw silk. Made for patrons in the marketplace, landscape paintings began to feature isolated figures in pastoral and daily life settings on single pages, replacing the idealized court paintings made for shahs. Here, the sleeping youth wears a voluminous silk sash enriched with gold thread and a billowing turban that cushions his head in the willow tree, both signs of nobility.
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