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Identification and Creation
Object Number
2002.50.8
Title
Two Men Embracing
Classification
Albums
Work Type
album folio
Date
17th century
Places
Creation Place: Middle East, Iran, Isfahan
Period
Safavid period
Culture
Persian
Persistent Link
https://hvrd.art/o/165390
Physical Descriptions
Medium
Ink and yellow watercolor on paper
Dimensions
22.8 x 16.1 cm (9 x 6 5/16 in.)
Provenance
Stanford and Norma Jean Calderwood, Belmont, MA (by 1974-2002), 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
2002.50.8
Division
Asian and Mediterranean Art
Contact
am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu
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Descriptions
Description
This drawing depicts two men in affectionate and intimate embrace. Differences in their age and stature are conveyed principally through hair: the older man has an impressive mustache, whereas the younger man’s face is bare, and a boyish ringlet falls from his turban. Both men wear relatively simple robes cinched at the waist with wide sashes; their turbans are large, with complicated pleating and draping. Some passages of the drawing are tinted in pale washes of yellow, green, and white watercolor to set them off from the background of the ivory paper sheet.
Surrounding the drawing is a complex border consisting of ruled lines of gold and other colors, a band of yellow paper, and an outer margin dominated by a floral pattern executed in two tones of gold over a pinkish-yellow ground. The theme of male affection occurs in many single-sheet studies from the Safavid period.

Published Catalogue Text: In Harmony: The Norma Jean Calderwood Collection of Islamic Art , written 2013
125

Two Men Embracing
Folio from an album
Iran, Safavid period, 17th century
Ink and watercolor on paper
Folio: 22.8 × 16.1 cm (9 × 6 5/16 in.)
2002.50.8

This drawing depicts two men in affectionate and intimate embrace. Differences in their age and stature are conveyed principally through hair: the older man has an impressive mustache, whereas the younger man’s face is bare, and a boyish ringlet falls from his turban. Both men wear relatively simple robes cinched at the waist with wide sashes; their turbans are large, with complicated pleating and draping. Some passages of the drawing are tinted in pale washes of yellow, green, and white watercolor to set them off from the background of the ivory paper sheet.
Surrounding the drawing is a complex border consisting of ruled lines of gold and other colors, a band of yellow paper, and an outer margin dominated by a floral pattern executed in two tones of gold over a pinkish-yellow ground. The theme of male affection occurs in many single-sheet studies from the Safavid period.[1]

David J. Roxburgh

[1] A good comparative example is in the Freer and Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC (F1954.28).

Publication History

Mary McWilliams, ed., In Harmony: The Norma Jean Calderwood Collection of Islamic Art, exh. cat., Harvard Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 2013), p. 258, cat. 125, ill.

Exhibition History

From Rhubarb to Rubies: European Travelers to Safavid Iran, 1550-1700, Houghton Library, Cambridge, 05/08/2008 - 08/20/2008

In Harmony: The Norma Jean Calderwood Collection of Islamic Art, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 01/31/2013 - 06/01/2013

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