Muhammad Qasim (attributed to), A picnic at night, a drawing


British Museum

British Museum

A party is taking place at night. A prince sits against a tree, attended by servants and musicians. Wine is served, and three women are providing the company with music. In the foreground, a turbaned man offers a cup of wine to the female musicians, who seem to be laughing at him. The figures are drawn principally in a calligraphic line, although colourful details of the costume, such as inside hems, buttons and undershirts, stand out in strong opaque paint against the buff-coloured paper. The prince's costume receives the most attention; his elaborate fur-lined jacket ensures that he stands out from the other figures. The prince may be a portrait of Shah ʿAbbas II (reigned 1642-66). Muhammad Qasim is known to have painted another portrait of him. A scene depicting the ruler in a relaxed court setting was a popular theme for the frontispiece of a royal manuscript. However, there was also a trend towards collecting single pages of painting, drawing or calligraphy in albums. It is more likely that this scene was produced on an isolated page, as a more general portrait of court life and entertainment.

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  • Title: Muhammad Qasim (attributed to), A picnic at night, a drawing
  • Date Created: 1650/1650
  • Physical Dimensions: Width: 26.40cm (sheet); Height: 41.80cm (sheet); Width: 17.30cm (drawing); Height: 25.00cm (drawing); Height: 32.40cm (calligraphy); Width: 15.40cm (calligraphy)
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Technique: drawn; gilded; painted
  • Subject: picnic; musician; servant/domestic worker; prince/princess
  • Registration number: 1920,0917,0.275
  • Production place: Made in Isfahan
  • Producer: Attributed to Mu_ammad Q
  • Period/culture: Safavid dynasty
  • Material: paper; gold
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Acquisition: Transferred from British Library