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Identification and Creation

Object Number
Pen Box with a Visit to a Sage
Artists' Tools
Work Type
pen box
Creation Place: Middle East, Iran
Qajar period
Persistent Link

Physical Descriptions

Opaque watercolor, gold-colored pigments, and lacquer on pasteboard
4.1 × 3.9 × 24 cm (1 5/8 × 1 9/16 × 9 7/16 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • inscription:
    یا صاحب الزمان ۱۲۸۷

    O Lord of Time! 1870-71


Recorded Ownership History
Ezzat-Malek Soudavar, Geneva, Switzerland (by 2014), by descent; to her son Abolala Soudavar, Houston, Texas (2014), gift; to Harvard Art Museums, 2014.

Ezzat-Malek Soudavar (1913-2014) formed this collection over a period of sixty years. She purchased the works of art on the international art market.

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of A. Soudavar in memory of his mother Ezzat-Malek Soudavar
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art

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Cover and sliding compartment with rounded ends. The top is decorated in horizontal format with three cartouches containing figural vignettes. In the center, a white bearded sage is seated with his disciples, one of whom is female. The cartouches at right and left each feature a young woman in European dress with a naked baby, a white bearded man, and a female attendant. The sides are decorated with a continuous landscape with multiple bridges and hunters. The base and compartment are decorated with gold arabesque on a red ground. The inscription, written in gold on the top, was used as a punning signature by several artists from the late seventeenth to late nineteenth century.

Publication History

  • Massumeh Farhad and Mary McWilliams, ed., A Collector’s Passion: Ezzat-Malek Soudavar and Persian Lacquer, Harvard Art Museums and Freer/Sackler Galleries, Smithsonian Institution (Cambridge, MA/Washington, D.C., 2017), p. 130, cat. 94

Verification Level

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