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Gum tempera, ink, and gold on paper
Painting only: 10.4 x 9.8 cm (4 1/8 x 3 7/8 in.); Overall: 20 x 14.3 cm (7 7/8 x 5 5/8 in.)
Gift of Mrs. A. Dean Perry 1962.279.42.a
A few tools, such as a hammer and an axe, designate the men’s professions.
Talking trees that predict the future or administer justice recur in medieval Indo-Iranian literature. Here, the blossoming Tree of Justice settled a dispute. Seven different men wanted to marry a woman who had been carved as a wooden statue by the carpenter (lower right in red) and brought to life by the holy man (lower left in green). A sliver of the woman’s body is seen merging with the trunk. The Tree of Justice decided to absorb her, and as she disappeared the tree proclaimed: “Everything must revert to its own origin.”
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