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Vicinity of Shahr-i Ray (Iran): Chasman-i-ali Mound: Qajar Rock Relief Depicting Fath Ali Shah
Gelatin silver print
24 cm. x 18 cm
Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives
Myron Bement Smith Collection: Antoin Sevruguin Photographs. Gift of Katherine Dennis Smith, 1973-1985, Local number: FSA A.4 2.12.Sm.40
Title and Summary notes are provided by Shabnam Rahimi-Golkhandan, FSg research specialist.
Antoin Sevruguin is one of the early pioneers of commercial photography in Iran. He arrived in Iran from Tbilisi, Georgia in the mid 1870s to set up shop in Ala al-Dawla street in Tehran. From the early days, Sevruguin's studio was trusted both by the Qajar court and by foreign visitors to Iran. Highly regarded for their artistic ingenuity outside Iran, Sevruguin's photographs of 'ethnic types,' architecture and landscape, and depictions of daily life of Tehran found their way into foreign travelogues, magazines and books. As such, he stands alone in a relatively large group of early Iranian photographers for being recognized and celebrated outside the boundaries of the country. Antoin Sevruguin passed away in 1933, although his family studio continued for some time as a commercial enterprise.
"The image is of a rock relief of Qajar period in the route from Tehran to Chishma Ali, one of the Qajar kings' favorite camping spots. The relief echoes the Sassanian tradition of depicting their kings in the rock relief. In the case of this one, Fath Ali Shah is surrounded by sixteen of his sons, the name of each of which is inscribed beside the carved heads. the relief includes two sets of inscriptions: a qasida by Andalib and verses by the head of the chancellery, Mirza Muhammad Taqi Aliabadi (Sahib-i Divan). The relief was ordered in 1830-1831, probably by Fath Ali Shah." [Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives, Curatorial Research Assistant]