"Laila and Majnun in School", 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 1/2 in. (19.1 cm)
W. 4 1/2 in. (11.4 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
One of the best-known stories of Nizami’s Khamsa (Quintet) is that of Laila and Majnun, a tale akin to that of the star-crossed lovers Romeo and Juliet. This folio illustrates their meeting at the madrasa (school) where they fall in love at first sight. In addition to the young lovers, this highly detailed painting depicts activities typical of the sixteenthcentury schoolyard—with children burnishing paper, practicing their penmanship, and reading various types of books. Although the story takes place in Arabia, the architectural setting is quintessentially Persian.
F. R. Martin, Sweden; Alexander Smith Cochran, Yonkers, NY (until 1913; gifted to MMA)
Dimand, Maurice S. Persian Miniatures. A Picture Book. Metropolitan Museum of Art Picture Books. New York, 1940. ill. figs. 14, 15, (b/w), also two details on cover.
Dimand, Maurice S. A Handbook of Muhammadan Art. 2nd rev. and enl. ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1944. p. 46, ill. pl. 1 (color).
Kurz, Otto. "Folding chairs and Koran stands." In Islamic Art in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, edited by Richard Ettinghausen. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1972. p. 308, ill. fig. 14.
Brend, Barbara. "Illustrations to Amir Khusrau's Khamsa." In Perspectives on Persian Painting. New York: RoutledgeCurzon, 2003. p. 190.
Ekhtiar, Maryam, and Claire Moore, ed. "A Resource for Educators." In Art of the Islamic World. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2012. p.84, ill. fig. 17 (color).
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