Two women carrying a tea service

Historical period(s)
Timurid period, 15th century
Ink, color, and gold on paper
H x W (overall): 19.5 x 15.8 cm (7 11/16 x 6 1/4 in)
Historic Iran, present-day Afghanistan
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Freer Gallery of Art Collection
Accession Number
On View Location
Freer Gallery 03: Engaging the Senses

Manuscript folio

Afghanistan, chinoiserie, Iran, tea, Timurid period (1378 - 1506), woman
Provenance research underway.

This tinted drawing is another manifestation of Timurid fascination with China. Whether the artist drew the composition from memory or based it on an actual model, he must have been unfamiliar with his subject matter. He has reduced the folds of the women's garments and their hair ornaments into decorative patterns, while the teapot has been converted into a two-dimensional motif. Such Timurid compositions were clearly valued for their depiction of the "other" rather than as an authentic representation of Chinese women and their accoutrements.

Published References
  • Fredrik Robert Martin. The Miniature Painting and Painters of Persia, India, and Turkey from the 8th to the 18th Century. 2 vols., London. vol. 2: pl. 33.
  • Georges Marteau, Henri Vever. Miniatures Persanes: tirees des collections de M.M. Henry d'Allemagne, Claude Anet, Henri Aubrey... 2 vols., Paris, June-October 1912. pls. 50, 51.
  • Ernst Grube. The Problem of the Istanbul Album Paintings. vol. 1. p.12,17,19,178, fig. 448.
  • Dr. Esin Atil. The Brush of the Masters: Drawings from Iran and India. Exh. cat. Washington, 1978. cat. 9, p. 29.
Collection Area(s)
Arts of the Islamic World
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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