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Dragon in foliage with lion and phoenix heads

Dragon in foliage with lion and phoenix heads

mid-1500s

attributed to Sahkulu

(Turkish)

Ink, gold, opaque watercolors on paper

Sheet: 17.3 x 40.2 cm (6 13/16 x 15 13/16 in.)

Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1944.492

Description

In this masterful drawing, a fierce undulating dragon entangled in swirling foliage is under attack from a lion above while assaulting a phoenix whose body dissolves into floral and foliate forms. The lion’s body undergoes a comparable zoomorphic transformation. This drawing represents the finest of the saz style, admired for elaborately curving flowers and leaves that flourished in the mid-1500s. The style was led by the Iranian-trained artist, Sahkulu, who joined the Ottoman imperial painting atelier in Istanbul in 1526 and became the head of the atelier in 1545. A verse from the Koran, 40:44, is inscribed in the stamp: "And I commit my case unto God."

See also
Collection: 
Islamic Art
Department: 
Islamic Art
Type of artwork: 
Drawing

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