All Collections
Previous Next
Back to Collection

Mirror Case with Hinged Shutter

LAQ 42 | Isfahan, Iran | dated 1274 AH (1857–8 AD)

Print Download

Artwork Details

Title: Mirror Case with Hinged Shutter

Date: dated 1274 AH (1857–8 AD)

Location: Isfahan, Iran

Materials: papier-mâché case and hinged shutter, painted and varnished; silver fittings

Dimensions: 27.8 x 16.5cm

Accession Number: LAQ 42

Other Notes:

The decoration of this mirror case combines a portrait of a contemporary personality with Frankish fantasies of the type that often appears in the work of Isma‘il, and which he seems to have derived from work produced in the circle of Najaf ‘Ali in the later years of that master’s life.

The front of the shutter shows Armenian clergy and worshippers, and the back of the case a European banquet, with grooms and horses in the foreground. At the corners are oval panels of angels in European dress offering dishes of flowers or fruit. The inner face of the shutter bears a portrait of Mirza Aqa Khan Nuri, chief minister of Nasir al-Din Shah between 1852 and 1858, possibly based on a watercolour by the well-known Qajar painter Abu’l-Hasan Ghaffari (Sani‘ al-Mulk).

Such ‘European’ subjects with Christian themes may be allusions to the story of Shaykh San‘an in Farid al-Din ‘Attar’s much admired mystical romance, Mantiq al-tayr (‘The Conference of the Birds’). He fell in love with a cruel Christian maiden and for her sake abandoned his religion, but through his resulting humiliations attained enlightenment and converted the maiden to Islam too.


N.D. Khalili, B.W. Robinson & T. Stanley, Lacquer of the Islamic Lands, The Nasser D. Khalili Collection of Islamic Art, volume XXII, Part Two, London 1997, cat.260, pp.70–71.
J.M. Rogers, The Arts of Islam. Masterpieces from the Khalili Collection, London 2010, cat.471, pp.388–9.

Related Artworks

Small Flask

JLY 1075
Jaipur, India

Youth in European Dress and Young Woman with Indian Headdress, from a Shahnamah

MSS 1000.1, MSS 1000.2
Isfahan, Iran


POT 684

Calligraphic Composition

CAL 154
Ottoman Turkey

Mail and Plate Shirt

MTW 1158
Northern Caucasus
for the Persian or Ottoman market

Two ‘Hands of Fatimah’

JLY 1923
India, possibly Hyderabad (Deccan)

Calligraphic Practice Sheet

CAL 266
Qazvin, Iran

Single Folio from a Four-part Qur’an

KFQ 90
Iran, Isfahan

Carpet with Star Medallions

TXT 213
Ushak, western Anatolia, Turkey

Mosque Lamp

GLS 572

Single Folio from a Qur’an

KFQ 45
Middle East or North Africa

Single Folio from a Qur’an

KFQ 50
Middle East

Five Folios from a Qur’an

KFQ 52
Middle East or North Africa

Two Folios from the ‘Blue Qur’an’

KFQ 53
North Africa or Spain

Single Folio from a Qur’an

KFQ 60
probably the Hijaz

Two Bifolios from a Qur’an

KFQ 82
Middle East

Single Folio from a Qur’an

KFQ 93
Middle East or North Africa

Single Folio from a Large Qur’an

KFQ 96
probably North Africa

Single Folio from a Qur'an

KFQ 34
Middle East

Single Folio from a Qur’an

KFQ 84
Middle East or North Africa



Khalili Collections Logo

Share this page