Smithsonian Freer Gallery Sackler Gallery National Museum of Asian Art Gallery Guide to the Visual Poetry
Introductionpage 1page 2page 3Persian Poetry and Paintingpage 1page 2rizaingpage 1page 2Persian Poetry and Paintingpage 1page 2
After the twelfth century, Sufism (Islamic mysticism) spread throughout the Islamic world and further enriched Persian poetry, heightening its spiritual content and introducing additional levels of meaning. It became unclear whether poets such as Rumi (died 1273) or Hafiz (died 1390) referred in their verses to earthly or heavenly yearning, or whether they described human or divine union. Similarly, a seventeenth-century painting of a beautiful woman could be seen as a metaphor for human or divine beauty. Much like Persian poetry, many of these images lent themselves to a multiplicity of interpretations, which further enhanced their meaning and significance.
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Seated Angel
Seated Angel
Iran, 1575–1600
Opaque watercolor and gold on paper
Lent by the Art and History Collection    LTS1995.2.72

The Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and the Freer Gallery of Art
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