The Cleveland Museum of Art

Collection Online as of April 19, 2018

Dragon in foliage with lion and phoenix heads, mid 1500s

ink, gold, opaque watercolors on paper, Sheet: 17.3 x 40.2 cm (6 3/4 x 15 13/16 in.). 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 Koran, 40:44, is inscribed in the stamp: "And I commit my case unto God."

script: Naskh 'And I commit my case unto God', Qur'an 40: part 44 [Stamp]

Main Gallery Rotation (gallery 116): November 14 2012 - December 9, 2013.

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