top of lid Photo © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Identification and Creation
Object Number
Attributed to the Circle of Najaf `Ali
Mirror Case with Flowers, Hazelnuts, Birds, and Butterflies
Work Type
mirror case
c. 1800-1850
Creation Place: Europe, Russia
Qajar period
Persistent Link
Physical Descriptions
Opaque watercolor, gold-colored pigments, and lacquer over brass layer on pasteboard
frame: 24 × 15.6 × 1.6 cm (9 7/16 × 6 1/8 × 5/8 in.)
shutter: 21.6 × 13.2 × 0.5 cm (8 1/2 × 5 3/16 × 3/16 in.)
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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Rectangular mirror case with hinged lid. On its exterior surfaces, this mirror case bears decorative schemes of mixed flowers with birds and butterflies that were popular in lacquer wares during the 18th and 19th centuries. The compositions on the outer face of the lid and the case back are very similar, but not identical. The outer face of the lid is, however, virtually identical to the front and back of 2014.386. The inner face of the lid is decorated with a gathering of dervishes in a riverine landscape. A white-bearded man holding a staff kneels in the middle ground, flanked by two clean-shaven dervishes; a pipe-smoking bearded man is seated in the foreground.
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. 110, cat. 36

David Roxburgh, ed., An Album of Artists' Drawings from Qajar Iran, Harvard Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 2017), pp. 36-37, fig. 3

David Roxburgh and Mary McWilliams, ed., Technologies of the Image: Art in 19th-Century Iran, exh. cat., Harvard Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 2017), pp. 32-33, fig. 12; pp. 152-153, cat. 58

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