Parting thought on the Persian Head and Persian Tile
In the Persian tile and Vedder’s depiction of The Sorry Scheme, Melville had access to surprising resonances between artistic creations from widely separated media and traditions. In this way, these two images also typify the rich mix of Greek, Persian, and Judaic cultural traditions in the 69 numbered catalog entries throughout this chapter, a pictorial mix that has its strongest literary counterpart in the epic vision and expressive details of Melville’s Clarel. That mix continues in the two prose sketches mentioned in passing in this chapter, “Rammon” (which brings together Hebraic and Buddhist philosophies) and “Under the Rose” (which was narrated by the servant of an English ambassador to a Persian prince who relies on a Greek translator to translate the poem that the ancient Persian poet had written on the ancient Persian vase). In Melville’s print collection, the “intersympathy of creeds” among cultures in the forbidding land called Holy in Clarel was matched by the “intersympathy of depiction” among artists who had been exploring and recording the life of Ancient Greece and the Near East ever since what is now ancient was new.