top Photo © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Identification and Creation
Object Number
Muhammad Kazim ibn Najaf `Ali
Pen box with scenes from Nizami's tale of Bahram Gur and the Seven Princesses
Artists' Tools
Work Type
pen box
1276 H (1859-60)
Creation Place: Middle East, Iran
Qajar period
Persistent Link
Physical Descriptions
Watercolor, gold-colored pigments, and lacquer on pasteboard
4.1 x 4 x 24 cm (1 5/8 x 1 9/16 x 9 7/16 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • Signed: Signed by Muhammad Kazim
  • inscription:
    Raqm-i kamtarīn Muḥammad Kaẓim sana 1296

    Painted by the most humble Muhammad Kazim, [in the] year 1859-60
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of John Goelet
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art
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.
Cover and sliding compartment with rounded ends. The top is decorated in horizontal format with three tri-lobed cartouches alternating with two oval medallions. The tri-lobed cartouches contain figural vignettes, and the oval medallions contain female portrait busts. The sides are similarly composed, with a central portrait medallion flanked by tri-lobed cartouches. The seven cartouches each contain a vignette of the Sasanian king Bahram Gur being entertained by one of the seven princesses whom he visits sequentially in the 12th century Persian poem Haft paykar (Seven Beauties) by Nizami. Inscriptions in small oblong panels identify each princess by the color of her pavilion. The base is painted with a gold arabesque on a red ground.
Publication History

Rahim Habibeh, Inscription As Art In the World of Islam - Unity In Diversity, exh. cat., Hofstra University (Hempstead, NY, 1996), paeg 46/figure 1

David Roxburgh, ed., An Album of Artists' Drawings from Qajar Iran, Harvard Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 2017), p. 99

David Roxburgh and Mary McWilliams, ed., Technologies of the Image: Art in 19th-Century Iran, exh. cat., Harvard Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 2017), pp. 154-155, cat. 66

Exhibition History

Woven, Hammered, and Thrown: Textiles and Objects from the Islamic World, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 06/22/1991 - 08/18/1991

The Tablet and the Pen: Drawings from the Islamic World, Harvard University Art Museums, Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 02/18/2006 - 07/23/2006

Technologies of the Image: Art in 19th-Century Iran, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 08/26/2017 - 01/07/2018

This record was created from historic documentation and may not have been reviewed by a curator; it may be inaccurate or incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art at