Folio from a Shahnama (Book of kings) by Firdawsi (d. 1020); recto: Rustam lifts Afrasiyab from the saddle; verso: text: Pishang’s letter to Kay Qubad and his plea for reconciliation

Detached folio from a dispersed copy of the Shahnama (Book of kings) by Firdawsi; text: Persian in black naskh script; recto: illustration and text, Rustam lifts Afrasiyab from the saddle, 6 columns, and 30 lines; verso: text, Pishang’s letter to Kay Qubad and his plea for reconciliation, 6 columns, 30 lines; one of a group of 7 folios. Patron: Qiwam al-Dawla wa’l-Din.
Border: The text and the painting are set in gold and red rulings on cream-colored paper.

Historical period(s)
Inju dynasty, Mongol period, February 1341 (Ramadan 741 A.H.)
Medium
Ink, opaque watercolor and gold on paper
Dimensions
H x W: 8.6 x 17.1 cm (3 3/8 x 6 3/4 in)
Geography
Iran, Shiraz
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Collection
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
F1952.35
On View Location
Freer Gallery 04: Engaging the Senses: Art in the Islamic World
Classification(s)
Manuscript
Type

Manuscript folio

Keywords
Afrasiyab, epic, Inju dynasty (1335 - 1357), Iran, Kay Qubad, Mongol period (1220 - 1380), naskh script, Rustam, Shahnama, WWII-era provenance
Provenance

To 1952
Dikran G. Kelekian, Inc., New York to 1952 [1]

From 1952
Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from Dikran G. Kelekian, Inc. in 1952 [2]

Notes:

[1] See Freer Gallery or Art Purchase List after 1920, Collections Management Office.

[2] See note 1.

Previous Owner(s)

Dikran G. Kelekian, Inc.

Description

Detached folio from a dispersed copy of the Shahnama (Book of kings) by Firdawsi; text: Persian in black naskh script; recto: illustration and text, Rustam lifts Afrasiyab from the saddle, 6 columns, and 30 lines; verso: text, Pishang's letter to Kay Qubad and his plea for reconciliation, 6 columns, 30 lines; one of a group of 7 folios. Patron: Qiwam al-Dawla wa'l-Din.
Border: The text and the painting are set in gold and red rulings on cream-colored paper.

Label

The most celebrated Persian folk hero in the Shahnama (Book of kings) is the legendary Rustam. Personifying physical strength, courage, and loyalty, Rustam is the ultimate defender of Iran's sovereignty, which was continually threatened by its eastern neighbors, the Turanians, such as Pilsam.
 
As is characteristic of painting under the Inju dynasty (ca.1325-56), the illustration is highly stylized and inserted into the text like a window panel. The composition's vivid red backdrop is another distinctive feature of manuscript paintings associated with Inju style.

Published References
  • Rudolf Meyer Riefstahl. Catalog of an Exhibition of Persian and Indian Miniature Paintings forming the Private Collection of Dikran Khan Kelekian. Exh. cat. New York. cat. 9.
Collection Area(s)
Arts of the Islamic World
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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