Gum tempera, ink, and gold on paper
Overall: 40.5 x 28 cm (15 15/16 x 11 in.); Average: 21.5 x 15 cm (8 7/16 x 5 7/8 in.)
Gift of Leonard C. Hanna, Jr., for the Coralie Walker Hanna Memorial Collection 1939.164
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.
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