Research by Gerard Curley
Acc No 46
Artist Achille Buzzi
Artist dates fl. c1870
Size 28 x 20 in (71.1 x 50.8 cm)
Date painted Unknown
Donor Mrs E Halstead, 271 Church Road, St Annes
Date donated 18 December 1944
This richly colourful painting depicts a young girl in traditional 19th century Syrian dress playing a Syrian qanun, a zither-like instrument, accompanied by her companion who sings and plays a riq, a type of Arabic tambourine. A man in period Arabic costume, smoking a hookah, sits on a sumptuous couch next to a woman, possibly his concubine, waving a leaf-shaped fan. The scene depicts a richly decorated room with a large patterned middle-eastern carpet and a colourful curtain with Arabic lettering pulled back from the entrance through which a palm is visible. Behind the seated couple is an ornately carved piece of wooden furniture, displaying crossed daggers and traditional pots. Intriguing, is the hexagon decoration at the top, seen in the West as the Judaic Star of David but in Islam this represents Solomon’s Seal; Solomon was the son of David and an Islamic prophet.
The painting is one of a series of similar scenes attributed to the same artist.