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Young Prince with Brands on his Arm

Iran, Isfahan, ca. 1630

"This drawing was signed by Riza-i Abbasi, the most influential Persian artist during the reign of Shah Abbas and throughout the 17th century. The young man with the round chin – identified as Prince Kamran Shah Hindi – is a good example of the ideals of a new era. Album leaves with charming but slightly decadent courtiers seem to have dominated the artistic scene, supplemented by portraits of Sufis, wrestlers, and other personages.

Branding oneself was actually a Sufi practice, which was intended to demonstrate spiritual strength, but on a secular level it was a sign of devotion to one’s beloved.”

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