early 19th century
wood, painted in opaque watercolour and varnished; base metal hinges
69 x 45 x 11.2cm (open); 69 x 16.4 x 16.8cm (closed)
The playing surface is made of three hinged wooden boards with lobed feet, which fold up and interlock to form a rectangular box when the board is closed. The principal decoration is on the cruciform area separating the four ‘tables’. Framed by elaborate borders, it consists of medallions of various shapes, four of them enclosing couples in European dress, one a couple in Iranian dress and one a woman nursing a child. At the centre is a rich bouquet of flowers.
The main decoration may be attributed to the court painter Muhammad Hasan, who worked primarily in oils. The only known dated portrait by him is a miniature of Fath ‘Ali Shah enthroned of 1234 AH (1818–19 AD).
N.D. Khalili, B.W. Robinson & T. Stanley, Lacquer of the Islamic Lands, The Nasser D. Khalili Collection of Islamic Art, volume XXII, Part One, London 1996, cat.131, pp. 178–9. J.M. Rogers, The Arts of Islam. Masterpieces from the Khalili Collection, London 2010, cat.470, pp.386–7.