Dancing Girl, Qajar, Persia, 19th Century
- 154 by 87.5cm.
This charming painting of a dancing girl is typical of Qajar tastes. During the Qajar period royal portraits and depictions of court entertainers were the two main themes of monumental painting. Falk describes these maidens as "the other main subject," although their purpose was largely decorative, providing colourful and entertaining images with which to ornament architectural features.
Beyond their decorative quality such paintings were iconic portraits that reflect a divided society. These entertainers and dancing girls were the only women accessible to the artists, respectable ladies of society were always hidden from sight behind thick swathes of fabric. More than that they represent the desires of a male dominated society, as Margaret Miles comments "[A] visual image repeatedly depicted may be assumed to... relate to its ability to address... strong anxieties, interests and longings." (Diba and Ekhtiar 1998, p.78).
Often depicted with symbols of pleasure and plenty, this particular painting is filled with song birds, a pair of flower filled vases, and a shining sun reminiscent of the symbol of Qajar royalty.