Cyprus Mail
Good Living Music & art

Benaki Museum CLOSE UPS: a 19th-century mirror case from Iran

For non-Greek speakers, this video requires captioning. After clicking the video’s play button, hover your mouse cursor over the lower border of the video, then click on the ‘CC’ button to turn on English subtitles.

In this video from the Benaki Museum’s CLOSE UPS series, Mina Moraitou, curator of the Museum’s Islamic art collection, presents a 19th-century mirror case from the institution’s Iranian collection, richly ornamented and typical of the art of the Qajar period (1789-1925).

The country’s main centres of production for such objects at that time were Shiraz, Isfahan and Tehran, Moraitou says. There, dedicated artisans would decorate precious items, such as pen cases, little boxes and book bindings, with the video’s mirror case being representative of such craftsmanship.

The case housed a square mirror, continues the Benaki curator, inscribed with its creator’s name – Rahim Kashi – as well as the year it was finished, 1869.

The artwork on the mirror case’s cover depicts Sufi figures, symbolising humility and abstinence. Its interior and underside, meanwhile, portray women in gardens, together with portraits and landscapes.

Typical for the art of this period, figures on such objects often wear Westernised garments, adds Moraitou, signalling the close ties between Iran and Europe in the 19th century.

View the original video here.

Good Living is the Cyprus Mail’s portal of curated content from across the internet, showcasing local and global ideas, cultural highlights, and scientific and technological developments to inspire a sustainable life.

Related Posts

Remembering Greek Expressionist Giorgos Mavroides | A. G. Leventis Gallery

CM Guest Columnist

First Aid basics: what to do if someone suffers a stroke

CM Guest Columnist

Buttery grilled scallops with Mediterranean salsa

CM Guest Columnist

How to sew a simple, open-back summer dress

CM Guest Columnist

Beyond hyper-local: Swedish ‘Street Moves’ project targets ‘one-minute’ city

CM Guest Columnist

Devoted goose braves humans to comfort injured mate

CM Guest Columnist