This item has been added to the Database within the Explore Islamic Art Collections project. Information is available in: English.

Name of Object:

Two dragons entwined on a spray of stylised foliage


Los Angeles, United States of America

Holding Museum:

Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)

About Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), Los Angeles

Date of Object:

Hegira c. 982–983 / AD c. 1575

Museum Inventory Number:


Material(s) / Technique(s):

Ink, colour washes, and gold on paper


18.1 x 9.4 cm

Period / Dynasty:





This drawing, whose remarkable intricacy of line and detail belies its minute size, was probably executed in the Ottoman court atelier (naqqashkhana) in Istanbul. There, in the second half of the 10th/16th century, a distinct style of painting developed separate from the highly conceptual tradition of manuscript illustration. Known as the "saz style" after the reed pen employed in its creation, this style emphasised fantastic and dazzling imagery that incorporates chinoiserie motifs and feathery leaves. Here, concealed among the dense, bristly foliage, are two silently slithering dragons, barely visible at first glance. Rather than emphasising pure line, the anonymous artist was caught up with the textural qualities of the dragons' scaly, speckled bodies and the sinuous veins of the serrated leaves.

Citation of this web page:

 "Two dragons entwined on a spray of stylised foliage" in Explore Islamic Art Collections. Museum With No Frontiers, 2018. http://www.discoverislamicart.org/database_item.php?id=object;EPM;us;Mus21;1;en

MWNF Working Number: US1 01


 Artistic Introduction

Islamic Dynasties / Period


On display in


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