Tinco’s farewell to Tehran

We’re August 18, 1867 – and Tinco Lycklama is leaving Tehran (and will never return). He is traveling back to the Ottoman border and will then start his exploration of the northern regions of modern Iraq and Syria – the heartland of Kurdistan and ancient Assyria.

View of Tehran by Luigi Pesce
View of Tehran, 1860 (Photography by Luigi Pesce)

Tinco Lycklama had spent most of the year 1866 in Persia. After his a stay in Baghdad, in the first half of 1867, he returned to Persia in the summer of 1867. It was his second in Tehran – and also the last one. He used his three weeks in the Persian capital to respond to letters from Europe and Russia. Books had been sent from Europe, so that he could study the latest literature and prepare the next stages of his trip – through Kurdistan and Assyria to places such as Kirkuk and Mosul, and to the ancient sites of Khorsabad and Niniveh. Tinco also spent time in Tehran’s bazar, where he bought many more antiques and rugs that would stand pretty in his future museum.

In the fourth volume of his travel account, published in 1975, Tinco concludes his descriptions of Persia in a philosophical manner. In the meantime, the shah of Persia, Naser al-Din, had travelled Europe for the first time (1873). At that occasion, Tinco had met him several times, as well as his friends Emam Qoli Mirza (an uncle of the Shah), and Abd-al-Samad Mirza (the shah’s nephew).

I saw them charmed by the welcome they enjoyed everywhere in Europe, and full of admiration for the wonders of western civilisation. However, it would be an error to think that, once upon his return to Tehran, Naser al-Din would europeanise Persia… To every people its own genius, its destiny, and its role in the world… I believe that Persia will always remain Persia, the way it was shaped by its history, its religion, and the nature of its people.

Tinco is now traveling back to Hamadan, to meet again with his friend Abd-al-Samad Mirza, the “Ezz-al-Dawla“, and then to continue towards Kurdistan and Assyria – in the northern part of modern Iraq.

Between Tehran and Hamadan
Between Tehran and Hamadan

Making friends in Hamadan : governor Abd-al-Samad Mirza, “Ezz-al-Dawla”.

In Hamadan, Tinco Lycklama builds a friendship that will last a lifetime. Indeed, the young governor of the province, Abd-al-Samad Mirza, “Ezz-al-Dawla”, enjoys the company of his Dutch visitor and – a few years later – will come and visit Tinco in Cannes.

3-06-04 - Portraits divers - Abdol Samad Mirza Ezz ed Dowleh Saloor 2Abd-al-Samad Mirza (1844-1929) was a Qajar prince and a younger brother of Naser el-Din, the shah of Persia. At a young age, he was sent by his brother to rule the province of Hamadan. In later years, he also became governor of other provinces and briefly occupied the position of Justice Minister of Persia (1885-87).

In 1872, Abd-al-Samad Mirza, “Ezz-al-Dawla”, became chief of the Qajar tribe. It was in that capacity that he accompanied his brother on his first visit to Europe, in 1873. At that occasion, he also traveled to Cannes to meet his friend Tinco and to visit the museum that Tinco had opened in Cannes earlier that year.

Abd-Al-Samad Mirza is the common ancestor of the Saloor branch of the worldwide Qajar family.

In Tinco’s writings, the name of Abd-al-Samad is spelled differently (a typical challenge with all names and titles in the Persian Qajar dynasty) : Abdolsamad Mirza, Ez-ed-Daulèh.

An excellent profile on Abd-al-Samad Mirza can be found on Iranica Online…

Sharing photographs and strawberries with the Qajars in Kermanshah

Tinco Lycklama is having a most interesting time in Kermanshah, as the special guest of Seyid Djouab. The Ottoman consul is a most entertaining host and takes Tinco along for wonderful horserides around the city, exploring the ancient monuments of Kermanshah – which was once a capital of the Persian Empire. Tinco also meets the Qajar rulers of Kermanshah, and discovers their keen interest in photography – and strawberries.

At the time of Tinco’s visit, the governor of Kermanshah was Emam Qoli Mirza (1814-1875), a Qajar prince with the title of Emad ed-Dauleh who occupied this position since 1852. He was an uncle of Naser al-Din Shah Qajar, the Persian “King of Kings”, whom Tinco met in a private audience in 1866, in Tehran. Emam Qoli Mirza was a son of Mohammad Ali Mirza Dowlatshah (1789-1821), who had been governor himself and who was a son of the second Qajar King, Fath-Ali Shah (1772-1834). The Qajars in Kermanshah formed the prominent Dowlatshahi branch of the dynasty.

Emam Qoli Mirza courteously offered several gifts – including a waterpipe and family portraits. These belonged to Tinco’s most prized objects in his museum in his native Beetsterzwaag (NL), and later in Cannes (F). This was not the only time that Tinco met the governor. In 1873, Emam Qoli Mirza became Minister of Justice and travelled along with Naser al-Din Shah on his first visit to Europe. Tinco joined them during their Paris stay, in July 1873.

Emam Qoli Mirza (1814-1875, governor of Kermanshah B-W
Emam Qoli Mirza (1814-1875), Persian Minister of Justice (1873-75)

The governor had several sons. One of them was Murtaza Quli Mirza, Mansur us-Sultana (who died in 1905). In 1894-95, he became deputy Governor-General of Kurdistan. Murtaza Quli Mirza owned a very beautiful private park just outside Kermanshah, and he took Tinco there for a ride. He also introduced Tinco to Persian strawberries. Though Persia has a relatively large production of strawberries today, they were an extreme and exquisite rarity a hundred and fifty years ago.

It was another son of Emam Qoli Mirza who grabbed Tinco’s attention even more. The governor’s oldest son, Ali Quli MirzaSarim ud-Daula (who died in 1872), had been a deputy governor of the Luristan province, and governor of the Kubai tribe of Kurds. But, besides that, he was also an avid photographer.

The Qajars had a fascination for photography, and they were extremely well equipped for that time. They shipped photographic material from Europe and built enormous collections of photographs (only few of them are digitally available, unfortunately).

When Prince Ali Quli Mirza invited Tinco to join him at his Kermanshah palace, he had asked him to come dressed in the Arab costume he had bought in Baghdad (news travelled fast, even about clothes). The reason was that he wanted to take pictures of Tinco, which he did. Whereas he kept several pictures for himself, Ali Quli Mirza also gave Tinco copies of his own portrait, plus those of a few of the prince’s family members.
Unfortunately, we have no trace of these pictures. There is a solid chance that they could be found in the well-preserved photo collections of the Golestan palace in Tehran. Who knows, perhaps one day?

Tinco under Turkish guards at Kermanshah

Since he arrived at Kermanshah – on June 12, 1867 – Tinco Lycklama has been under permanent guards by Turkish soldiers. In fact, when he was approaching Kermanshah, he was met by a military detachment of twenty-five heavily armed men who escorted him into the city. These things happen – except that Kermanshah is not Turkish – it’s in Persia.

Kermanshah by Pascal Coste - 1840
View of Kermanshah (drawing by Pascal Coste, 1840)

In fact, it was Tinco Lycklama’s new powerful friend Namik Pasha – the Ottoman viceroy of Baghdad – who had made these arrangements. Remember that Tinco enjoyed significant priviliges when he stayed in Baghdad the previous winter, such as access to the military arsenal of the city and special escorts during his excursions to Babylon and Najaf.

Mehmed Emin Namık Pasha (1804-1892)
Mehmed Namik Pasha (1804-1892), Viceroy of Baghdad

The Ottoman Empire and Persia were not necessarily on friendly terms, but they maintained diplomatic relations. In fact, both empires were coping with external (European) influence and interference, especially from the British and the Russians.

The Turks seemed keen to please Tinco. Namik Pasha had instructed his consul in Kermanshah, Seyid Djouab, to treat him with the utmost deference.

Tinco had the choice of two houses offered by the Turks, where he could stay for the duration of his visit to Kermanshah. He chose the little townhouse, which came with a nice courtyard and a big garden. What’s interesting is that, after spending months traveling the deserts and often sleeping in tents, Tinco had started to adopt the customs of the region. Hence, he decided to pull up his tents in the gardens and, during his two-week stay, it’s in these tents that he worked and received his visitors – like a real sheikh of the desert.

It’s also with Consul Seyid Djouab that Tinco explored some very interesting sites in and around Kermanshah, such as the Taq Bostan rock reliefs. These are monumental sculptures dating from the Sassanid dynasty that ruled the Persian Empire from 226 to 650 CE. Kermanshah was a capital city of the Sassanids in the 4th century. In October 1866, Tinco Lycklama had seen similar rock sculptures from the earlier Sassanid rulers, near Persepolis.

Tagh Bostan
Taq Bostan

Regardless of all the good efforts by the Turks to please Tinco during his stay at Kermanshah, he is also getting back into “Persian mode”. Over the next few days, he will meet up with the Qajar rulers of the city.