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The hero Rustam converses with Kay Kavus, from a manuscript of the Shahnama (Book of Kings)
Place of Origin: India, perhaps Mandu, Madhya Pradesh state, former kingdom of Malwa
Date: probably 1450-1500
Historical Period: Sultanate period
Materials: Opaque watercolors on paper
Dimensions: H. 12 1/2 in x W. 10 1/4 in, H. 31.7 cm x W. 26.1 cm
Credit Line: Museum purchase, City Arts Trust Fund with additional funding from Stuart Harvey and the Levi Strauss Foundation
Department: South Asian Art
Collection: Painting
Object Number: 1989.30
On Display: No

Description

Label:

The Shahnama (Book of Kings), written by the Persian poet Firdausi in approx. 1010 ce, enjoyed immense popularity in the Persian-speaking world (modern Iran, Afghanistan, India, and even Turkey) for centuries. It continues to be recited, copied, and performed today. Combining myth, legend, and historical fact, the Shahnama relates stories of pre-Islamic Persian kings and heroes. Its engaging tales of good and bad kingship, adventure, heroism, and romance, written in elegant poetic form, have resonated with audiences in many different places and cultures.

This painting, originally from a book with more than 350 pages, is among the earliest Persian-language manuscripts to survive from India. Its artistic elements—the bold color scheme, arrangement of figures in compartments and tiers, their scale, facial features, and costumes—resemble contemporary Hindu and Jain paintings. These distinctive qualities suggest that this Shahnama copy was made by an artist trained in Indian (and not Persian) painting traditions.


More Information

Exhibition History: "Dancing to the Flute", The Art Gallery of New South Wales, 6/12/1997 - 8/24/1997

"Arts of the Islamic World from Turkey to Indonesia", Asian Art Museum, 9/05/2008 - 3/01/2009
Label:

The Shahnama (Book of Kings), written by the Persian poet Firdausi in approx. 1010 ce, enjoyed immense popularity in the Persian-speaking world (modern Iran, Afghanistan, India, and even Turkey) for centuries. It continues to be recited, copied, and performed today. Combining myth, legend, and historical fact, the Shahnama relates stories of pre-Islamic Persian kings and heroes. Its engaging tales of good and bad kingship, adventure, heroism, and romance, written in elegant poetic form, have resonated with audiences in many different places and cultures.

This painting, originally from a book with more than 350 pages, is among the earliest Persian-language manuscripts to survive from India. Its artistic elements—the bold color scheme, arrangement of figures in compartments and tiers, their scale, facial features, and costumes—resemble contemporary Hindu and Jain paintings. These distinctive qualities suggest that this Shahnama copy was made by an artist trained in Indian (and not Persian) painting traditions.


Exhibition History: "Dancing to the Flute", The Art Gallery of New South Wales, 6/12/1997 - 8/24/1997

"Arts of the Islamic World from Turkey to Indonesia", Asian Art Museum, 9/05/2008 - 3/01/2009