Collection of Saeed Kouros Photo © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Identification and Creation
Object Number
Snuff box with lovers discovered
Work Type
mid-19th century
Qajar period
Persistent Link
Physical Descriptions
Watercolor, gold-colored pigments, and lacquer over brass layer on pasteboard
2.4 × 6.4 × 9.2 cm (15/16 × 2 1/2 × 3 5/8 in.)
Kazem R. Kooros, Houston, Texas (by 1969), gift; to his son Saeed Kouros, Houston, Texas (by 1979), gift; to the Harvard Art Museums, 2018.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Saeed Kouros in honor of Kazem R. Kooros
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.
This small box was likely intended to hold snuff. The exterior of the hinged lid is decorated with a scene of two young lovers embracing on a terrace. The foreground holds a sheathed dagger, a flintlock, and a tray with refreshments. Clean-shaven with light-colored eyes and dressed in a frock coat, the bare-footed male lover perhaps represents a European. The female lover is dressed in Qajar garments, including an aigrette in her hair, a jacket with turned-back cuffs, and a short flaring skirt of the type that became popular in Iran in the later 19th century, following Nasir al-Din Shah Qajar’s travels in Europe. The young woman glances rightward, in the direction of a frowning older man, presumably her husband. Sporting a prominent mustache and a Qajar hat, he leans into the terrace from outdoors. An elderly woman in headscarf appears at the left, partially hidden by two large cushions. Her finger is raised to her mouth in the conventional gesture of wonder or dismay. The vignette is framed by gold scrollwork and bordered by floating bouquets.
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