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Persian art, Peacock
18th – 19th century
Material and technique
Gold damascened iron
55,5 x 33 x 26 cm
Augusta Monferini
The collection includes a magnificent example of Persian art, a sculpture of a peacock in gold damascened steel dating from the 18th or 19th century.
The magnificent bird stands proudly, its gently rounded body set firmly atop straight legs and curving smoothly into a long neck; the head is crowned with a stylized crest consisting of three elements. With its long beak the bird has a haughty appearance. The large tail fanning out from the body confers an impression of almost god-like stateliness. Indeed, the wide convex tail opens out in a slow rotation conveying an even more regal aspect on the bird.
 The entire surface of the peacock is decorated with a dense pattern of geometrical motifs in gold inlay. In the centre of the body, rosettes and spirals and other traditional decorative motifs fan out from a ring.
This beautiful peacock is a technical and artistic legacy from the great age of Persian art. Damascening is a traditional local technique developed in antiquity, which persists unchanged to this day. The elegant statue stands out from other works of the 18th and 19th centuries, an unfortunate period for Persian art, which entered a phase of slow decline. At the time, mass production of cheap goods for the bazaars was gaining ground and although contemporary artists were technically competent they did not contribute to the development of new forms.
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