The Townsman Robs the Villager's Orchard
These structures offered shade and a resting place for viewing the cultivated surrounds and served as symbols of the sovereignty of the ruler.
Let's take a closer look at "The Townsman Robs the Villager's Orchard" a 16th century Iranian folio from a copy of Haft Awrang (Seven thrones) by Jami.
One of the most popular trees found in orchards in Iran are pomegranate trees, and they are often included in paintings. The flowers are bright red, and the leathery skin of the fruit ranges from pale yellow to crimson red. Its tart, succulent seeds are the staple of many Persian dishes. As pomegranate trees are drought tolerant, they are ideal for Iran's dry climate.
The large tree at the back is an Oriental plane tree, known as chinar in Persian. The tree is related to the American Sycamore. A common tree in Persian gardens, the plane tree has large, deeply lobed leaves and its bark is usually flaky, but it can also become thick and gnarled. Plane trees grow in most climates, but benefits from hot summers.
Like most gardens in Iran, this orchard is surrounded by a high brick wall, which defines its limits and offers privacy for the occupants. A wooden gate in the lower right provides access to the exterior.
The yellow leaves and the pomegranate tree, which bears fruit in the late summer, suggest that the artist has represented the orchard in the fall season.
Many royal gardens in Iran and India were located outside the city limits, as is the case here. Walls often surrounded gardens, separating them from their harsh, arid surroundings and emphasizing their private and secluded nature. For the public, such enclosed gardens became symbolic expressions of the king's power and control over his domain.