Sep 29, 2010

Demon in chains

Demon in chains

c. 1453

style of Muhammad Siya Qalam

(Iranian)

Opaque watercolor and gold on paper

Image: 25.7 x 34.4 cm (10 1/8 x 13 9/16 in.); Overall: 27 x 35.2 cm (10 5/8 x 13 7/8 in.)

Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1982.63

Location

Description

This page once belonged to a miscellany from the library of the early Ottonian sultans. It depicts two people in nomadic garb leading a demon, or Persian div, in chains between them. The female figure holding the chain to her face is painted to look nearly as ferocious as the captured div. The concept of divs as evil supernatural creatures of mysterious origin dates to pre-Islamic Persia, but they are also described in the text of the Qur'an. Divs in Persian literature and folktales are sometimes captured and forced to use their magic to serve a king or hero.

See also
Collection: 
Islamic Art
Department: 
Islamic Art
Type of artwork: 
Manuscript

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