"Bahram Gur in the Turquoise Palace on Wednesday", 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, silver, and gold on paper
Overall page: H. 12 13/16 (32.5 cm)
W. 8 15/16 in. (22.7 cm)
Image: H. 8 in. (20.3 cm)
W. 5 1/16 in. (12.9 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 fourth of the late twelfth-century Persian poet Nizami's five epic poems, later combined to form the famous Khamsa (Quintet), was the Haft Paikar, or Seven Portraits, so named from one incident in the story. It recounts the legendary history of the Sasanian king Bahram Gur, who is idealized as a great lover and hunter. The story is known also as the Seven Princesses because Bahram Gur, so the story goes, married seven beautiful princesses from the seven regions of the world, and visited each in her own pavilion on successive nights of the week. In this highly sensual but moralistic work, each princess tells a story and there are additional stories within these.
F. R. Martin, Sweden; Alexander Smith Cochran, Yonkers, NY (until 1913; gifted to MMA)
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. 63 (b/w).
Melikian-Chirvani, Assadullah. "L'Art de l'Iran Safavide 1501–1736." In Le Chant du Monde. Paris: Musée du Louvre, 2007. no. 15, pp. 178-179, ill. fol. 216 (color).
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: 184.108.40.206On view in:Gallery 455