Description Originally mounted on a tall pole and dressed with fabric streamers, this standard (‘alam) was paraded through the streets and public squares of Iran during ritual festivities commemorating the martyrdom of Husayn (d. 680), the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad. Projecting dragon heads frame an intricate calligraphic composition that bears the names of the 12 imams (religious leaders) central to the branch of Shia Islam adopted as the official state religion by the Safavid dynasty (1501–1736). Adherents of Shia Islam believe that the legitimate successor to the Prophet Muhammad was ‘Ali, the father of Husayn and son-in-law of Muhammad.
Prior restorations failed; materials removed and replaced with more stable adheisves.
Provenance Acquired by Wilfried Uhde, Heidelberg, Germany, March 1987; purchased by Sam Fogg Ltd., London, February 2017; purchased by Walters Art Museum, 2017.
Inscriptions [Inscriptions] On front at bottom: عمل محمد تقی اردوبادی; [Translation] Work of Muhammad Taqi Ordubadi; [Inscription] On back at bottom:۱۰۷۵; الله ولی توفیق; [Translation] 1075; God is the bestower of success
Credit Museum purchase with funds provided by the W. Alton Jones Foundation Acquisition Fund, 2017
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