Identification and Creation
Object Number
2002.50.139
Title
Qajar Youth Seated against Cushions (pricked drawing)
Classification
Albums
Work Type
album folio
Date
19th century
Places
Creation Place: Middle East, Iran
Period
Qajar period
Culture
Persian
Persistent Link
https://hvrd.art/o/146827
Physical Descriptions
Medium
Ink, black chalk and graphite on paper
Dimensions
27.4 x 20.2 cm (10 13/16 x 7 15/16 in.)
Provenance
[Sotheby Parke Bernet, New York, Sale 3948, 1977, lot 123], sold; to Stanford and Norma Jean Calderwood, Belmont, MA (1977-2002), gift; to Harvard Art Museums, 2002.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, The Norma Jean Calderwood Collection of Islamic Art
Accession Year
2002
Object Number
2002.50.139
Division
Asian and Mediterranean Art
Contact
am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu
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Descriptions
Description
This drawing depicts a young man in Qajar attire leaning back against plump, tasseled cushions; a tray laden with bottles, decanters, and drinking cups is set at his feet. These forms are delineated in ink on the dark ivory paper, and additional definition is provided by traces of black chalk and by shading and line in graphite, probably added with a pencil. The principal contours of the design have been pricked with a pin. Given the absence of traces of pouncing chalk on the drawing itself, it is likely that a transparent sheet of paper was laid over it and that the pin was used to make holes in the upper sheet, along
the design contours. The pricked sheet of transparent paper was then laid on another sheet of paper and a pounce bag full of powdered chalk or charcoal tapped over it. When the transparent sheet was removed, particles of chalk or charcoal remained on
the paper beneath and served as a guide for drawing the lines in a permanent medium, thus accomplishing the transfer of the original design.
After serving its preliminary purpose, this drawing was mounted on an album page assembled from strips of colored papers and fragments of Persian poetry.

Published Catalogue Text: In Harmony: The Norma Jean Calderwood Collection of Islamic Art , written 2013
152

Youth Seated against Cushions
Folio from an album
Iran, Qajar period, 19th century
Ink, black chalk, and graphite on paper
Folio: 27.4 × 20.2 cm (10 13/16 × 7 15/16 in.)
2002.50.139

This drawing depicts a young man in Qaja attire leaning back against plump, tasseled cushions; a tray laden with bottles, decanters, and drinking cups is set at his feet. These forms are delineated in ink on the dark ivory paper, and additional definition is provided by traces of black chalk and by shading and line in graphite, probably added with a pencil.

The principal contours of the design have been pricked with a pin. Given the absence of traces of pouncing chalk on the drawing itself, it is likely that a transparent sheet of paper was laid over it and that the pin was used to make holes in the upper sheet, along the design contours. The pricked sheet of transparent paper was then laid on another sheet of paper and a pounce bag full of powdered chalk or charcoal tapped over it. When the transparent sheet was removed, particles of chalk or charcoal remained on the paper beneath and served as a guide for drawing the lines in a permanent medium, thus accomplishing the transfer of the original design.

After serving its preliminary purpose, this drawing was mounted on an album page assembled from strips of colored papers and fragments of Persian poetry.

David J. Roxburgh

[1] The various techniques of pouncing are discussed in Roxburgh 2002b, 61–62.

Publication History

Mary McWilliams, ed., In Harmony: The Norma Jean Calderwood Collection of Islamic Art, exh. cat., Harvard Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 2013), p. 273, cat. 152, ill.

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art at am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu