Iran, most probably Tabriz
late 15th century
brush drawing in ink, watercolour and gold on paper
48.6 x 37.5cm
This large-format study is a version of a Chinese genre painting of the Yuan period showing Buddhist holy men (lohans). Its most striking feature is probably the gold jewellery worn by the two figures, including earrings, a torque, belts, anklets and even an archer’s thumb-ring. The jewellery contrasts strikingly with their homely apparel and footwear, which, like their shaven heads and branded ritual markings, suggest spiritual poverty and identify them as wandering dervishes (qalandars).
J.M. Rogers, The Arts of Islam. Masterpieces from the Khalili Collection, London 2010, cat.209, pp.178–9.