top Photo © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Identification and Creation
Object Number
Haji Muhammad
Pen Box with Portrait Medallions on Floral Ground
Artists' Tools
Work Type
1102 H (1692-93)
Creation Place: Middle East, Iran
Safavid period
Persistent Link
Physical Descriptions
Opaque watercolor, gold-colored pigments, copper alloy particles, and lacquer over silver layer on pasteboard
3.7 × 4.2 × 23.9 cm (1 7/16 × 1 5/8 × 9 7/16 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • inscription: هو العلی الاعاي

    راقمه حاجی محمد في ۱۱۰۲

    He! The most High.

    It was painted by Haji Muhammad in 1692-93.
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
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 vertical format with three portrait medallions and two anchor pendants, surrounded by flowers painted on a red background. The inscription is written in the anchor pendants. The portraits are all of women, and the central figure wears a fanciful European gown. The sides are decorated with floral scrolls, which are continuous around the ends. The walls of the compartment bear gold landscape motifs on a red background. The base is plain red.

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), pp. 29-31, fig. 4; p. 115, cat. 46

David Roxburgh and Mary McWilliams, ed., Technologies of the Image: Art in 19th-Century Iran, exh. cat., Harvard Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 2017), pp. 35-36, fig. 18; pp. 148-149, cat. 50

Exhibition History

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