Gum tempera, ink, and gold on paper
Page: 32 x 24.4 cm (12 5/8 x 9 5/8 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 2013.332
Joseph, the man of Zulaykha’s dreams, is dressed as a Mughal prince.
In Islamic texts, as in the Hebrew and Christian Old Testament traditions, Zulaykha is the unnamed wife of Potiphar, a wealthy Egyptian. This scene is from a popular Persian poem that recounts the story of Joseph and Zulaykha as a mystical romance, and describes her visionary dreams of a beautiful lover. In this painting we see the luxuriously dressed Zulaykha asleep on a terrace, reclining on ornate pillows as a vision of her love, Joseph, appears before her. He is illuminated by radiant light cast down by angels emerging from the dark night clouds.
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