Tiles depicting the story of Yusuf and Zulaikha
Iran, 2nd half of the 19th century, Qajar Period (1779 - 1925)
The Ashmolean Museum, Oxford
These tiles come from two different sets depicting the story of Yusuf and Zulaikha. Based on the Sura Yusuf, the 12th sura of the Qur'an, it originally derives from the story of Joseph and Potiphar?s wife in the Old Testament.
In the Qur?anic version, Yusuf is a handsome slave in the service of an Egyptian man. His master?s wife, named Zulaikha in later literature, attempts to seduce him unsuccessfully.
These tiles depict the episode of Yusuf?s appearance before the women of Memphis. Overcome by his beauty, they faint or cut themselves with the knives they hold in their hands!