Persian Head and Persian Tile
The Greek beginnings of this chapter incorporated Persian medals and a Persian play. Here we conclude with a Persian head and a Persian tile. Melville would have associated each with his trip to Greece and the Near East in 1856-57. The engraving of the Persian head gives equal importance the head of a camel, an animal to which Melville paid considerable attention during that journey. The Persian tile is an object he actually brought home from Mediterranean lands. Back in America, the camels he had seen and the tile he had acquired were to have many associations with the prints he collected, the books he collected, and the poems he wrote during the last three decades of his life. They also relate to his unpublished prose fragment “Under the Rose (Being an extract from an old MS entitled Travels in Persia By a servant to My Lord the Ambassador)” (NN BBO 236-40).