Dec 30, 2013
Sep 25, 2015
Oct 7, 2015

A floral fantasy of animals and birds (Waq-waq)

A floral fantasy of animals and birds (Waq-waq)

early 1600s

Gum tempera and gold on paper

Page: 37.6 x 26.6 cm (14 13/16 x 10 1/2 in.)

Gift in honor of Madeline Neves Clapp; Gift of Mrs. Henry White Cannon by exchange; Bequest of Louise T. Cooper; Leonard C. Hanna Jr. Fund; From the Catherine and Ralph Benkaim Collection 2013.319


Did you know?

The dragon threatens to singe the boar’s beard.


Derived ultimately from a conflation of medieval Persian and Qur'anic sources, including descriptions of the mythical island of Waq-waq inhabited by half-plant/half-animal creatures, this extraordinary painting depicts a plant that brings forth animal life in multiple forms. Playfully rendered with animals both real and mythic and birds that seem to effervesce away as they break free of the stems, this brilliant rendition of a life-giving plant maintains its compositional integrity, even as it sprawls across the page. This painting was made to beguile courtly connoisseurs who would gather to admire the wondrous images in an imperial album.

See also

Contact us

The information about this object, including provenance, may not be currently accurate. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email

To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.

All images and data available through Open Access can be downloaded for free. For images not available through Open Access, a detail image, or any image with a color bar, request a digital file from Image Services.