Yusuf and Zulaykha meeting

c. 1764
Location: not on view
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Did You Know?

Joseph wears a Central Asian fur-trimmed hat and coat and holds Indian paan.


Joseph, called Yusuf in Arabic and Persian sources, had been thrown into a well by his jealous older brothers. Although his eldest brother intended to return and rescue him, Joseph was taken by a caravan and brought to Egypt to be sold as a slave. When Zulaykha saw Joseph in the market, she recognized him as the lover she had seen in her dreams since childhood and so purchased him for herself. When read as a religious allegory, Zulaykha’s passionate desire for Joseph is interpreted as the yearning of the soul to be joined with the perfect beauty of God.
Yusuf and Zulaykha meeting

Yusuf and Zulaykha meeting

c. 1764

India, Provincial Mughal, Lucknow, 18th century

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