recto Photo © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Identification and Creation
Object Number
1971.96
People
Unknown Artist
Title
Layla and Majnun
Classification
Paintings
Work Type
painting
Date
first half of 18th century
Places
Creation Place: South Asia, India, Kashmir, Basohli or Nurpur
Culture
Indian
Persistent Link
https://hvrd.art/o/215366
Physical Descriptions
Medium
Opaque watercolor and gold on paper
Dimensions
11.8 x 16.8 cm (4 5/8 x 6 1/2 in.), page
Inscriptions and Marks
  • inscription: Language: Urdu
    Script: Nasta‘liq
    Above Layla’s head:
    لیلی
    Layla
    Above Majnun’s head:
    مجنوں
    Majnnun
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Friends of the Fogg Art Museum Fund
Accession Year
1971
Object Number
1971.96
Division
Asian and Mediterranean Art
Contact
am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu
The Harvard Art Museums encourage the use of images found on this website for personal, noncommercial use, including educational and scholarly purposes. To request a higher resolution file of this image, please submit an online request.
Descriptions
Description
Seated on a carpet with a lattice and floral design is a female figure, identified as “Layla” through the Urdu inscription above her head. She wears an elaborate headdress, a long red dress, a green shawl, and ornate jewelry, which includes a head ornament, necklaces, armlets, bracelets, earrings, and a nose ring. In her right hand she holds a green flask, while her left hand holds out a small blue and white cup. Her palms are dyed with henna. In front of her are two cups, a flask, two apples, a bowl, a tray of grapes, and a book on a stand. Across from her, seated on the ground and under a sapling, is an emaciated male figure. He is identified as “Majnun” through the Urdu inscription above his head. He is depicted with dark skin, curly hair, a beard, a pink loin cloth. The tale of the star-crossed lovers Layla and Majnun, who have been compared to Juliet and Romeo, has inspired many poets through the centuries. The best known version is that written by Nizami Ganjavi (1141-1209) in the 12th century.
Exhibition History

Out of the Hills: Miniature Painting from Himalayan India, Harvard University Art Museums, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 05/26/1984 - 07/08/1984

Divinely Inspired: Images of Mystics and Mendicants, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 01/16/1999 - 03/29/1999

On the Path of Madness: Representations of Majnun in Persian, Turkish, and Indian Painting, Harvard University Art Museums, Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 09/27/2007 - 03/23/2008

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