"Khusrau Catches Sight of Shirin Bathing", Folio from a Khamsa (Quintet) of Nizami
Nizami (Ilyas Abu Muhammad Nizam al-Din of Ganja) (probably 1141–1217)
Sultan Muhammad Nur (ca. 1472–ca. 1536)
Painting by Shaikh Zada
Folio from an illustrated manuscript
dated A.H. 931/A.D. 1524–25
present-day Afghanistan, Herat
Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper
Page: H. 12 5/8 in. (32.1 cm)
W. 8 3/4 in. (22.2 cm)
Mat: H. 19 1/4 in. (48.9 cm)
W. 14 1/4 in. (36.2 cm)
Gift of Alexander Smith Cochran, 1913
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 455
One of the five stories related in Nizami's Khamsa (Five Tales) concerns the love affair between the Iranian king Khusrau and the Armenian princess Shirin. This beautifully-detailed painting captures the moment when Khusrau first catches sight of Shirin, bathing in a stream. While the pond has now tarnished to near black, it was originally painting in shining silver, complementing the golden sky above.
F. R. Martin, Sweden; Alexander Smith Cochran, Yonkers, NY (until 1913; gifted to MMA)
Musée du Louvre. "La Dynastie Safavide," October 1, 2007–January 7, 2008.
Valentiner, William Reinhold. "The Cochran Collection of Persian Manuscripts." Museum of Metropolitan Art Bulletin, old series, vol. 8 (1913). pp. 80-86.
Grube, Ernst J. "The Early School of Herat and its Impact on Islamic Painting of the Later 15th, the 16th and 17th Centuries." In The Classical Style in Islamic Painting. Venice: Edizioni Oriens, 1968. ill. pl. 62 (b/w).
Brend, Barbara. "Illustrations to Amir Khusrau's Khamsa." In Perspectives on Persian Painting. New York: RoutledgeCurzon, 2003. p. 190.
Melikian-Chirvani, Assadullah. "L'Art de l'Iran Safavide 1501–1736." In Le Chant du Monde. Paris: Musée du Louvre, 2007. no. 14, pp. 176-77, ill. fol. 50r (color).
Artist: Nizami (Ilyas Abu Muhammad Nizam al-Din of Ganja) (probably 1141–1217)Date: ca. 1625–30Medium: Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on unpolished paperAccession: 1982.476.1a, bOn view in:Not on view