Photo © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Identification and Creation
Object Number
Abu al-Hasan Ghaffari Kashani Naqqash-Bashi
Mirza Zayn al-`Abidin
Work Type
1273 H (1856-57)
Creation Place: Middle East, Iran
Qajar period
Persistent Link
Physical Descriptions
Black ink, watercolor, and graphite on beige wove paper
31.8 x 19.5 cm (12 1/2 x 7 11/16 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • Signed: Abu'l-Hasan naqqashbashi Kashani Ghaffari
  • inscription:
    Shāhanshāhī muqarrab al-khāqān muʾtamin al-sulṭān Mīrzā Zayn al-ʿĀbidīn mustawfī-i khāṣṣa dar sinn-i chihil va chahār sāligī raqm-i Abū al-Ḥasan Naqqāsh-Bāshī Kāshānī Ghaffārī sana 1274

    Royal intimate of the emperor, confidante of the sultan, Mirza Zayn al-ʿAbidin, comptroller of the crown at the age of 44. Painted by Abu al-Hasan Kashani Ghaffari, the Chief Painter, [in] the year 1857–58
Kazem R. Kooros, Houston, Texas (by 1969), gift; to his son Vahid Kooros, Houston, Texas (by 1979), gift; to the Harvard Art Museums, 2015.

Kazem R. Kooros (1906-2010) was a major collector of Qajar art. He purchased works of art on the international art market from the 1950s through the 1980s.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Vahid Kooros in honor of Thomas W. Lentz
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art
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In this unfinished painting, the sitter kneels within a shallow space and faces the viewer with a penetrating gaze. Although European fashions had entered Persian clothing and furniture by the middle of the nineteenth century, this figure’s garments and posture are staunchly traditional. He wears the tall Astrakhan hat favored by the Qajar court and two long robes. The outer cloak is broadly sketched in, but the blue inner robe is carefully rendered in a moiré pattern. The details of the striped sash and the complicated piping on the robes suggest the fine woolen fabrics woven in Kirman, which Qajar government policy aimed to promote over Kashmir imports at the time this painting was created. The sitter’s two hands—with henna-stained nails—are tucked into his sash, along with two rolled documents.
Publication History

David Roxburgh and Mary McWilliams, ed., Technologies of the Image: Art in 19th-Century Iran, exh. cat., Harvard Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 2017), pp. 118-119, fig. 11; pp. 132-133, cat. 3

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