Persian Miniature Painting: Portrait of Shah Tahmasp

Portrait of Shah Tahmasp
Portrait of Shah Tahmasp
Portrait of a Prince

Sultan Mohammed

Plate 46. West Turkestan, Circa 1500, State Public Library, Petrograd (Leningrad, then Saint Petersburg) Russia

La Miniature En Orient by Ernst Kuhnel 1925

This miniature is a single page portrait of Shah Tahmasp. These portraits of young men with similar pose, clothing, and neutral back grounds, are seen frequently in the school of Sultan Muhammad

Translator's Note: This piece is a favorite of mine but also a problem. Kuhnel suggests an attribution of the school of Sultan Muhammad. I on the other hand see a closer resembelence to the style of Aqa Mirak

Kuhnel attributes this to 1530 and in an examination of this same print Poliakova and Rakhimova suggest circa 1540.1. Despite the fact that Poliakova and Rakhimova suggest 1540 I lean towards Kuhnel's date because of the tree and the Turban
Portrait of Shah Tahmasp
Detail - Portrait of a Prince
To me one of the most fascinating parts of this piece is the tree. Please note how extensively it has been pruned. This combined with the high density of flowers and the heavy trunk and limbs. This causes me to think the miniature is a little older than Poliakova and Rakhimova suggest.

I am also struck by the care put into the turban. The wood appears to be 12 sided and red (faded) as one would expect in the taj of a Kizylbashi and it show the slight indentation at the end.
Portrait of Shah Tahmasp
Detail - A Reclining Prince
Attributed to Aqa Mirak - Tabriz 1530, Vever Collection, Arther M. Sackler Gallery, Washington DC.

I find the treatment of the turban, and clothing to be rather similar. Please note the sleve at the wrist.
Portrait of Shah Tahmasp
Detail - Portrait of a Prince
Please note the fish in the pool. The inclusion of fish in motion seems appropriate for a painting by Aqa Mirak.
Portrait of Shah Tahmasp
Detail - A Reclining Prince (Vide Supra)
Please note the hems, folds, and creases.
Portrait of Shah Tahmasp
Detail - Portrait of a Prince
I had hoped these flowers would tell me who the artist was. They are very unusual. After examining hundreds or perhaps thousands of images of Islamic and related art I cannot find another example of flowers drawn as these are. I had hoped that I would be able to match the flowers to the work of one of the masters of this period and make the identification that way. I also enjoy the charming animal's face in the rock.

Notes: My ongoing translation and commentary on "La Miniature En Orient" is a work in progress. I am publishing it one plate at a time in no particular order. I flip through the book and look for one that looks fun and then I do that one next. I suppose the order in which I publish them says something about my taste in art. My primary goal with this project is not to teach you about Islamic Art but rather it is to teach myself a little about Islamic Art. If I make an error please let me know. I am also doing the project this way so that if I make an error perhaps one of you will catch it for me. By the way I also decided that this would be a chance to learn a little more French, since I barely know enough to make it through a menu in a French Restaurant.