"Marriage of Khusrau and Shirin", 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
A.H. 931/A.D. 1524–25
present-day Afghanistan, Herat
Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper
Painting: H. 7 in. (17.8 cm)
W. 4 3/4 in. (12.1 cm)
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
Not on view
The second poem of Nizami’s Khamsa (Quintet) is a romantic epic tale concerning the last great Sasanian ruler, Khusrau II, and his beloved Armenian princess, Shirin. While their union is delayed by many trials, tribulations, and intervening marriages, eventually the two are happily wed. This painting depicts their marriage, set within a crystalline architectural composition. Great care is lavished upon the details of the building, suggesting that the artist may have intended to depict a specific structure. Over the heads of the couple appears an invocation to God—"Oh! Opener of Doors!" The inscription on the portico above, dated Rajab 913 (April–May 1525), is contemporaneous with the colophon of the manuscript.
F. R. Martin, Sweden; Alexander Smith Cochran, Yonkers, NY (until 1913; gifted to MMA)
Dimand, Maurice S. Persian Miniature Paintings, Gallery of Art, (1956). pp. 24-25, ill. pl. IX (color).
"Gold." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin vol. 31, no. 2 (Winter 1972/1973). pp. 69-121.
Brend, Barbara. "Illustrations to Amir Khusrau's Khamsa." In Perspectives on Persian Painting. New York: RoutledgeCurzon, 2003. p. 190.
Artist: Nizami (Ilyas Abu Muhammad Nizam al-Din of Ganja) (probably 1141–1217)Date: dated A.H. 931/A.D. 1524–25Medium: Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paperAccession: 126.96.36.199On view in:Gallery 455