Folio from a Shahnama (Book of kings) by Firdawsi (d. 1020); recto: Battle between Kay Khusraw and Afrasiyab; verso: text: Letter of Kay Khusraw to Kavus and his victory

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, Battle between Kay Khusraw and Afrasiyab; verso: text, Letter of Kay Khusraw to Kavus and his victory, four columns, twenty-three lines; one of a group of seven folios.
Border: The text and the painting are set in gold and black rulings on cream-colored paper.

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Maker(s)
Calligrapher: Salik b. Sa'id
Patron: Sultan-Ali Mirza (1478-1504)
Historical period(s)
Aq Qoyunlu dynasty, Turkmen period, 1493-1494 (899 A.H.)
Medium
Ink, opaque watercolor and gold on paper
Dimensions
H x W: 34.5 x 24.2 cm (13 9/16 x 9 1/2 in)
Geography
Iran, Gilan
Credit Line
Purchase — Smithsonian Unrestricted Trust Funds, Smithsonian Collections Acquisition Program, and Dr. Arthur M. Sackler
Collection
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
S1986.175
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Manuscript
Type

Detached manuscript folio

Keywords
Afrasiyab, Aq Qoyunlu dynasty (1378 - 1501), battle, epic, Henri Vever collection, Iran, Kay Khusraw, Shahnama, Turkmen period (1378 - 1508), WWII-era provenance
Provenance
Provenance information is currently unavailable
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, Battle between Kay Khusraw and Afrasiyab; verso: text, Letter of Kay Khusraw to Kavus and his victory, four columns, twenty-three lines; one of a group of seven folios.
Border: The text and the painting are set in gold and black rulings on cream-colored paper.

Label

This painting is from a now dispersed two-volume copy of the Shahnama (Book of Kings) commissioned by Karkia Mirza Ali (1478-1504), a local ruler of the province of Gilan in northwestern Iran. It illustrates an episode from the persistent feud between Kay Khusraw, the mythical Persian king, and Afrasiyab, the villainous ruler of Turan.

Originally, the manuscript contained 350 paintings, an extremely high rate of illustration, attesting to the importance of expressions of legitimacy even for short-lived, local dynasties, such as that of Karkia Mirza-Ali. The bold compositions, large puppetlike figures, and vibrant colors of many of the illustrations stand in sharp contrast to the more subtle and restrained style of painting prevalent in metropolitan courts in Iran at the end of the fifteenth century (for an example, see F1937.24).

Published References
  • Islamic Arms and Armour in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Exh. cat. New York. .
  • Thomas W. Lentz. Pictures for the Islamic Book: Persian and Indian Painting in the Vever Collection. vol. 1, no. 4 New York, Fall 1988. pp. 22-23, fig. 7.
  • Glenn D. Lowry, Milo Cleveland Beach, Elisabeth West FitzHugh, Susan Nemanzee, Janet Snyder. An Annotated and Illustrated Checklist of the Vever Collection. Washington and Seattle. cat. 107, p. 89, 93.
  • Glenn D. Lowry, Susan Nemanzee. A Jeweler's Eye: Islamic Arts of the Book from the Vever Collection. Washington and Seattle. cat. 20, pp. 102-103.
Collection Area(s)
Arts of the Islamic World
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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