14th or 15th Century Illustrations of Nomad Turkmen of Persia or Anatolia

From Manuscript Hazine 2153 (Fatih Album), of the Saray Albums, Topkapi Palace Museum, Istanbul Turkey


The picture is a realistic scene from family life, showing a father feeding his donkey, which is evidently a valued possession, watched by his three children and their mother. The donkey is simultaneously defecating and attacking the feed in its nosebag. One of the children has his hands on his knees as he watches the donkey with curiosity. The other two children are stretching out their arms to their mother and pulling at her clothes as they demand something from her, probably food. The woman, in a red robe and headscarf, watches with a frozen expression of astonishment, as if food needed for her children were being fed to the donkey - their means of livelihood. All the figures are dressed in voluminous ground-length clothes. The father wears a headdress reminiscent of dervish caps. Although the mother and father are wearing shoes, the children are barefoot. This is the only portrayal of children in the Mohammad Siyah Qalam paintings. In the top left corner is written 'Work of Master Mohammad'.

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