Photo © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Identification and Creation
Object Number
Attributed to Aqa Riza (Riza ‘Abbasi), Persian (c. 1560-70 - 1635)
A Maiden Reclines, drawing by Aqa Riza (recto); calligraphy by Ahmad al-Husayni (verso)
Other Titles
Alternate Title: Sleeping Girl (comparable version in Freer Gallery)
Work Type
album folio
late 16th century
Creation Place: Middle East, Iran, Qazvin
Safavid period
Persistent Link
Level 2, Room 2550, Art from Islamic Lands, The Middle East and North Africa
View this object's location on our interactive map
Physical Descriptions
Black ink on off-white paper
34 x 23.7 cm (13 3/8 x 9 5/16 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • inscription: Translation of verso by Sunil Sharma and Afsaneh Firouz:
    "Separation from you is my old friend, Sorrow for you is my constant companion, Grief for you is my daily guest, [The scar you left is my souvenir], [Alas I will turn to clay with a heart full of dust], [I am drowning in blood since every moment thorns are pricking my heart], O, gentle East Wind, bring memories, [From time to time, of my long-time beloved], (On behalf of my humble self, For all a cup of wine, a lover, and oneself), [Sometimes, will you not stroll over the grave of your old lover?], [It has been a while since grief and worry and burden have left my heart], How strange! you returned but stole Khusraw's peace of mind." "Written by the sinner Ahmad al-Husayni (may God forgive his sin)"
Kevorkian. Stuart Cary Welch, Jr., Warner, New Hampshire (by April 1, 1969-2008), by inheritance; to Edith I. Welch, Warner, New Hampshire (2008-2011), gift; to Harvard Art Museums 2011.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, The Stuart Cary Welch Collection, Gift of Edith I. Welch in memory of Stuart Cary Welch
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art
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This drawing shows a reclining woman with only her lower torso covered with her clothes. Her arms are crossed above her head and a head scarf floats loosely above her breasts. Her long hair can be seen through as well. S.C. Welch attributes the drawing to Aqa Riza’s work in the late 16th century. He suggests that it was made after an Italian print of Marcantonio Raimondi. The nasta’liq calligraphy on the other side of the album page is signed by Ahmad al-Husayni and was most likely illuminated by him based on his name. The margins on both sides are decorated with floral stencils.
Publication History

Dr. Sheila R. Canby, The Rebellious Reformer: The Drawings and Paintings of Riza-yi Abbasi of Isfahan, Azimuth Editions Ltd. (London, England, 1996), Page 28 & 180/Figure 8

Stuart Cary Welch and Kim Masteller, From Mind, Heart, and Hand: Persian, Turkish, and Indian Drawings from the Stuart Cary Welch Collection, exh. cat., Yale University Press (New Haven, 2004), p. VI (detail), pp.56-59, no. 9

Exhibition History

Islamic Art: Drawings, Calligraphies and Objects, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 06/29/1983 - 09/25/1983

Linear Graces ... and Disgraces: Part I, Drawings from the Courts of Persia, Turkey, and India, 15th-19th Centuries, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 10/15/1994 - 12/11/1994

From Mind, Heart, and Hand: Persian, Turkish, and Indian Drawings from SCWelch, Harvard University Art Museums, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 03/19/2005 - 06/02/2005

32Q: 2550 Islamic, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 09/04/2021 - 01/05/2022

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