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Asian Art
Artist, attributed to: Mu’in Musavvir, Iranian, ca. 1610–1693

Ascetic in Meditation

17th century

Ink and opaque watercolor on paper

without mounting: 4 7/16 × 2 1/2 in. (11.3 × 6.4 cm)
with mounting: 10 5/8 × 8 3/16 in. (27 × 20.8 cm)
The Vera M. and John D. MacDonald, B.A. 1927, Collection, Gift of Mrs. John D. MacDonald
The tiny rodent in the foreground of this painting is drinking from a blue-and-white Chinese porcelain bowl, a ceramic type that was revered and collected in Safavid Iran. The introverted ascetic’s complete lack of interest in this rare luxury item, however, suggests that he has reached a spiritual state beyond such petty concerns.
Iranian/Persian, Islamic
Safavid dynasty (1501–1722)

Collection Sevadjian, Paris, Sale March 1961; Vera M. and John D. MacDonald, Boston, Mass. to 2001; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn.


Sylvia Houghteling, Affect, Emotion, and Subjectivity in Early Modern Muslim Empires : New Studies in Ottoman, Safavid, and Mughal Art and Culture, ed. Kishwar Rizvi, 9 (Boston: Brill, 2018), cover ill., ill.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.