Peacock, steel with gold damascened decoration, Iran, probably Isfahan, late 19th century. Part of the Holburne Museum collection.
The peacock is one of the most culturally significant birds in Iranian culture; it appears in art and poetry from the Medieval period onwards with great regularity. The symbol of Persian/Iranian monarchy. This symbolism originates from the Peacock Throne, a famous golden throne stolen from India by the Persians in 1739. Peacocks were popular also in ancient Persian cuisine and were sometimes worshipped. One example of a Persian community who worshipped the peacock were the Yezidis, who inhabit the Armenia, Kurdistan and Caucasus mountains. The Yezidis worshipped Malik-e-Taus, a redeemed devil in the semblance of the peacock.
The peacock is part of the eclectic collection of art formed by Miss Ellen Tanner following her journey to the Middle East in the 1890s and it was donated to the Holburne Museum by Miss E. G. Tanner in 1932. The peacock will part of the exhibition “Bath to Baghdad”. See related events: http://www.holburne.org/events/bath-to-baghdad/?instance_id=12103
The Curator’s pick
Catrin Jones – Curator of Decorative Arts at the Holburne Museum – recalls Miss Tanner mentioning a game in her diary: “had a comfortable evening playing colorito, a convenient, portable game, of which we were all immoderately fond…”[and later] “…and after dinner finished the day with violent struggles at our new and favourite game…”.
You can find more info about Colorito game here: