Arts of the Book: Illustrated Texts, Miniatures
Young Hunter With A Falcon
Ottoman, 16th century CE
Materials and technique
Ink, opaque watercolour and gold on paper
12 x 6 cm
This finely rendered drawing depicts a young hunter nestled in a curving tree trunk as he watches the falcon perched on his finger. In the hills beyond, an onlooker spies on the scene as a simurgh, a fantastic bird similar to the Chinese phoenix, and other birds hover in the sky. Its skilled display of draughtsmanship is demonstrated through a wide variety of textures created by the pen or the brush, ranging from the gnarled, rough tree trunk to the folds of the falconers robe and the soft fur of his cap. The inked line acquires a certain virtuosity in its representation of texture through varying thickness and shades of black. Line also acts as an anchor for the entire composition, with the undulating tree trunk balanced by the curves of the hills in the distance and the simurgh’s plumage overhead. The extraordinary technical skill in this composition is reminiscent of the style of Vali Jan (Velican in Turkish), a Persian artist of the Safavid court who emigrated to Istanbul from Qazvin around 1580 CE. The drawing follows Persian prototypes but betrays Ottoman influence in the sharply pointed leaves that presage the saz style, an Ottoman adaptation of Chinese-inspired foliage.
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