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Identification and Creation
Object Number
Muhammad Baqir Samirumi
Pen Box with Persian Women in Medallions
Artists' Tools
Work Type
pen box
Creation Place: Middle East, Iran, Isfahan
Qajar period
Persistent Link
Physical Descriptions
Oil paint, gold-colored pigments, and lacquer on pasteboard
3.5 × 3.2 × 19.9 cm (1 3/8 × 1 1/4 × 7 13/16 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • inscription: 303 Samīrumī 1327
    303 [Baqir] Samirumi 1909-10
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 vertical format with three cartouches. In the center is a full-length portrait of an Iranian woman in a black jacket and floor-length skirt; above and below are bust-length female portraits. The sides are composed in a similar manner with an oblong cartouche in the center that features animals in a mountainous landscape; to the right and left are small riverine landscapes. On the base an arabesque is painted in gold on a black background.
The artist Muhammad Baqir Samirumi sometimes added the number 303 to his signature. It has been suggested that this stands for the name “Baqir,” the letters of which have this numerical value.
Publication History

Basil William Robinson, Qajar Lacquer, Muqarnas (1988), vol. VI, pp. 131-146, fig. 17

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. 158, cat. 180

David Roxburgh and Mary McWilliams, ed., Technologies of the Image: Art in 19th-Century Iran, exh. cat., Harvard Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 2017), pp. 156-157, cat. 77

Exhibition History

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

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