A woman mistakes a cow for the Angel of Death, from a Lights of Canopus (Anwar-i Suhaili) of Kashifi (Iranian, d. 1504)

A woman mistakes a cow for the Angel of Death, from a Lights of Canopus (Anwar-i Suhaili) of Kashifi (Iranian, d. 1504)

c. 1610

Gum tempera on paper

Painting: 19.7 x 10.2 cm (7 3/4 x 4 in.); Framed: 38.1 x 26.7 cm (15 x 10 1/2 in.)

Gift of Michael Silver and Deborah Lader in memory of Rabbi Daniel Jeremy Silver 2019.81


Animal Fables of India (Indian art rotation)

Did you know?

A previous owner identified the scene as the first cesarean section.


In this gently colored, amply shaded painting, an ailing girl lies listless, eyes barely open, as an attendant fans her. A cow who got her head stuck in a pot has entered the yard in confusion. The girl’s mother, who had been weeping and praying to exchange her own life for the health of her daughter, thought the Angel of Death had come to take her. Pointing to heaven, the woman begs that her daughter be taken instead. Outside the gate, a wandering holy man dozes, indicating this scene takes place in the evening, and a calf annoys her mother as she eats.

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