Folio from a Shahnama (Book of kings) by Firdawsi (d.1020); recto: Bahram Gur slays a dragon in India, text: Bahram marries the daughter of Shangal, king of India; verso: text: Bahram Gur flees from India

Detail of a pattern
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At A Glance

  • Period

    February 1341 (Ramadan 741 A.H.)
  • Geography

    Shiraz, Iran
  • Material

    Ink, opaque watercolor and gold on paper
  • Dimension

    H x W: 36.8 x 30 cm (14 1/2 x 11 13/16 in)
  • Accession Number



Object Details

  • Calligrapher

    Hasan ibn Muhammad ibn Ali ibn Husayni (known as) Mawsili
  • Patron

    Qiwam al-Dawla wa'l-Din
  • Description

    Detached folio from a dispersed copy of the Shahnama (Book of kings) by Firdawsi; text: Persian in black nasta'liq script; recto: illustration and text, Bahram Gur slays a dragon in India, text, Bahram marries the daughter of Shangal, king of India, 6 columns, 20 lines; verso: text, Bahram Gur flees from India, 6 columns, 30 lines; one of a group of twelve folios. Patron: Qiwan al-Dawla wa'l-Din.
    Border: The recto and verso are set in red and brown rulings on cream-colored paper.
  • Previous custodian or owner

    Francois Mautin (1907-2003)
    Jeanne Louise Monthiers (1861-1947)
    Henri Vever (1854-1942)
    Indjoudjian Freres
    Qiwam al-Dawla wa'l-Din
  • Provenance

    Qawam ud-dawla wa'l-din (ca. 1303-1353), vizier of Abu-Ishak, the Inju ruler of Fars commissioned in 1341 [1]
    Gap in ownership knowledge
    Indjoudjian Frères, method of acquisition unknown [2]
    Sale, Paris, Hôtel Drouot "Objets d'art proche-orient des grandes époques ... provenant de la collection de Indjoudjian" December 19, 1932, lot 22 [3]
    Henri Vever (1854-1942), method of acquisition unknown [4]
    Jeanne Louise Monthiers (1861-1947), bequest of Henri Vever [5]
    Francois Mautin (1907-2003), bequest of Jeanne Louise Monthiers and Henri Vever [6]
    From 1986
    Arthur M. Sackler Gallery purchased from Francois Mautin [7]
    [1] See Glenn D. Lowry and Milo Cleveland Beach with Roya Marefat and Wheeler Thackston, "An Annotated and Illustrated Checklist of the Vever Collection" [book] (Washington, D.C. and Seattle: Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and University of Washington Press, 1988), 77.
    This folio belongs to a manuscript commissioned by Qawam ud-dawla wa'l-din in 1341. The manuscript was taken apart and dispersed in the early twentieth century.
    [2] See auction catalogue cited in note 2. Indjoudjian Frères was an antiquities dealership based in Paris and New York, owned by the Armenian-born brothers Agop (1871-1951) and Meguerditch (1884-1927).
    [3] See Hôtel Drouot "Objets d'art Proche-Orient des grandes époques ... provenant de la collection de Indjoudjian" [auction catalogue] (Paris : December 19, 1932), lot 22. The folio is described as « ROUSTEM combattant le DRAGON. Ces enluminures son parmi les plus belles d'un art fortement apparenté à celui de Rhagès. » The catalogue misidentified the figure.
    [4] An accomplished French jeweler and collector, Henri Vever (1854-1942) amassed a large and impressive collection of
    works of art during his lifetime. His holdings in Japanese prints and Islamic arts of the books, especially from Iran and India,
    were among the most important assembled in the early twentieth century.
    [5] Upon Henri Vever's death on September 25, 1942, his wife, Jeanne Louise Monthiers inherited the work. See exhibits F and G of Agreement of Purchase and Sale of the Henri Vever Collection, January 9, 1986, copy in object file.
    [6] Upon the death of Jeanne Louise Monthiers, as stipulated in the will of Henri Vever, the family's assets were divided evenly between his two grandchildren. His only grandson, Francois Mautin inherited the collection known as "The Henri Vever Collection of Oriental Art and Manuscripts Including Persian and Indian Art and Manuscripts." This work is part of that collection. See exhibits F and G as cited in note 5.
    [7] The Arthur M. Sackler Gallery purchased the entirety of the collection from Francois Mautin on January 9, 1986. See purchase agreement, copy in object file.
    Research completed May 4, 2022.
  • Origin

    Shiraz, Iran
  • Credit Line

    Purchase — Smithsonian Unrestricted Trust Funds, Smithsonian Collections Acquisition Program, and Dr. Arthur M. Sackler
  • Type

  • Restrictions and Rights

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