The Concourse Of The Birds

The Concourse of Birds by Habiballah of Sava

The Concourse Of The Birds by Habiballah of Sava

The Concourse Of The Birds by Habiballah of Sava was produced in ca. 1600 and is considered to be one of the famous artworks of Islamic Art movement. The work can be viewed now at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York


Medium: Oil Painting 

Subject(s): nature, spirituality


he Concourse of the Birds is a painting produced in XVI century by Iranian artist Habiballah of Sava.

One of the loveliest scenes from Islamic culture and has considered as one of the best-known  illustrations in the world of Islamic art. The work is produced on paper using ink, gold, silver and watercolor.

The illustration is found in the manuscript of the mystical poem called The Concourse/Language of the birds (Martiq al-tair) written by Farid al-Din Attar, writer from XII century.  The painting depicts assembled birds in an idyllic landscapes that are about to start the search for ‘Simurg’, the mystical bird, known as ‘Phoenix’ in Western cultures.The Simurg represents the ultimate spiritual unity in Muslim world, and birds are symbols of individuals who are searching for this mascot.  

This composition has quite a few behaviours of  late fifteenth-century due to Timurid miniatures present in the manuscript, but three elements indicate that this image could be produced later – the presence of the hunter, who has no place in the narrative; his firearm, a weapon that gained currency in Iran after the mid-sixteenth century; and the signature of the late sixteenth- to early seventeenth-century artist Habiballah. The work can be viewed at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York.


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