Leopards and Gazelles in a Qajar Comb

The Qajars were a Persian royal family of Hazar Turkic origin (named after the Hazar Sea), whose dynasty began with Agha Muḥammad Khān Qājār in 1794 and ended with Sultan Ahmad Shah Qajar in 1925. Agha Muhammad brought peace, which allowed unique style of Persian painting and portraiture to develop and flourish.

A main theme of Qajar art was the garden scene, which was inherited from the Safavid Dynasty.

Double Finispiece From The Diwan Of Sultan Ibrahim Mirza, 1582 CE

Persian leopards were the hunting trophies of kings. Rulers ascended to the peacock throne. There were also eagles, serins, gazelles, rabbits, and rams. Gardens had wider connections to spirituality and mysticism. Sadly, today, the Persian leopard has been hunted almost to extinction.

Double Finispiece From The Diwan Of Sultan Ibrahim Mirza, 1582 CE

Recently, a group of wooden, painted Qajar H combs, c. 1920, sold on E-Bay. I was particularly interested in this one because of the rural garden scene. On one side, a Persian leopard bites a male gazelle, while the female looks on.

On the other side, an eagle eats a serin with a fish in its mouth. Predators and prey depicting the circle of life, portrayed in a circle. A ram looks on, while rabbits and ducks dot the edges.

Sale price: $978.


For more scholarly research, please examine

Woven from the Soul, Spun from the Heart: Textile Arts of Safavid and Qajar Iran, 16Th-19th Centuries

Royal Persian Paintings : The Qajar Epoch 1785-1925

Wall Paintings And Other Figurative Mural Art in Qajar Iran

1 thought on “Leopards and Gazelles in a Qajar Comb

  1. Kajetan

    Very informative and colourful narrative, as always on this blog, thank you Barbara.
    I like this comb very much, indeed. Thank you for researching it’s iconography.
    In fact, the whole “Persian group” was excellent, possibly the best collection
    of antique and rare combs, ever offered for sale on eBay as a group.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *