Moʿin Moṣavver | Individual Drawings and Paintings

Drawing 1653.1

Portrait of a Young Prince

Location: Current whereabouts unknown. Formerly in the Hagop Kevorkian Collection.
Painting; (H x W) 20.7 x 10.8 cm., Leaf: 36.4 x 23.7 cm.
Signature: Signed and dated 1063/1653.

Right side, near the bottom. The right side of the inscription is trimmed. That which remains reads as follows:
...[trimmed]... _________________________hr šavvāl ba eqbāl sana 1063
...[trimmed]... _________________________āsār raqam garded
...[trimmed]... ________________________[kamin]a moʿin-e
...[trimmed]... ________________________[moṣav]ver
Translation (partially reconstructed): Completed ... the lucky [month of] šavvāl in the year 1063 / 25 August - 24 September the humble Moʿin Moṣavver.

A man of 25 to 35 years of age, standing upright, shown in three-quarter view facing right. He wears a large variegated turban with a fan of feathers protruding upward at the back, a long bright orange coat that is knotted at the waist with a gray sash, black leggings and boots. In his hands he holds a very slender cane-like implement diagonally across his body. The background is filled with dispersed elements: plants, rocks, bushes, and stylized clouds, presumably rendered in gold on a plain paper ground.

Sothebys London, 2 May 1977, lot 56.
Sothebys London, 15 October 1998, lot 65.

In the 1650's Moʿin began making what are clearly portraits - of noblemen, tradesmen, and other dignitaries - apparently to supplement his employment at the royal court (cf. 1650.4, 1663.2, 1670.2, 1674.2). The subject is usually standing, seated or kneeling; the facial features very carefully rendered, and stand out against the plain, nearly monochromatic background. Often an object is included that alludes to the subject's vocation -- in this case it is not clear if this is a cane, a shepherd's crook, or more likely a polo whip. The incscription was partially trimmed in mounting, but enough remains to distinguish Moʿin's name and a date. The person portrayed is not identified.

Photo after Sothebys,

Robert Eng

Last Updated: June 18, 2019 | Originally published:
June 18, 2019