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Opaque watercolor, ink and gold on paper
Gift of Mrs. A. Dean Perry 1962.279.155.a
In the opening scene of the parrot’s bawdy story about a jester, who is shown wearing green on his way to perform at the court of the amir, he came upon an Ethiopian, known as Zangi, dancing by the side of the road. When he learned that the Zangi
was overjoyed because he was planning to meet his beloved, the jester’s own wife, the jester was so distraught he was unable to perform, and the amir threw him in prison.
The tale draws upon stereotypes about Africans that were current in India and Iran during the 1300s or earlier, when the text was written; these include association with music, dance, and sex. In the painting of around 1560, the artist depicted the Zangi as described in the text as semi-wild with caricatured physical traits, uncovered head, and
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