Two demons, fettered


Historical period(s)
Timurid period, 15th century
Ink, opaque watercolor and gold on paper
H x W (painting): 14.6 × 22.1 cm (5 3/4 × 8 11/16 in)
Iran or Central Asia
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Accession Number
On View Location
Freer Gallery 04: Engaging the Senses: Art in the Islamic World


Central Asia, demon, fiddle, Iran, Timurid period (1378 - 1506), WWII-era provenance

To at least 1931
Sakisian Collection. [1]

To 1937
Hagop Kevorkian (1872-1962), New York. [2]

From 1937
Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from Hagop Kevorkian, New York. [3]


[1] Curatorial Remark 3 in the object record.

[2] Curatorial Remark 1 in the object record.

[3] See note 2.

Previous Owner(s)

Hagop Kevorkian 1872 - 1962
Sakisian collection


Timurid princes were passionate collectors of Chinese luxury goods, a practice that inspired local artists to experiment with the new styles and motifs found on such imports and to integrate them into their own work.

One intriguing and enigmatic series of drawings and paintings that incorporates Chinese pictorial conventions shows monsters and demons (div) in various activities and poses. These wild, highly expressive creatures contrast sharply with the elegant and emotionally reserved men and women typically seen in Timurid paintings and recall Central Asian and Chinese models and techniques. Frequently, the demons appear with familiar objects, as seen in this remarkable tinted drawing. The one on the right, for instance, plays a spiked fiddle (kamancha), a musical instrument that was popular in Iran and Central Asia. His companion holds a gold cup and a Chinese blue-and-white bottle decorated with a writhing dragon. The style and technique of drawing also owes more to Chinese than Persian pictorial conventions. Both ferocious and comical, these fantastic figures are among the most distinct and powerful images created during the fifteenth century.

Collection Area(s)
Arts of the Islamic World
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
Rights Statement

Copyright with museum