"Battle between Alexander and Darius", 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)
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 3/8 in. (18.7 cm)
W. 4 13/16 in. (12.2 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
This razm (battle) scene is set against a hilly background, with groups of figures engaged in combat. Three figures in the foreground attack their mounted enemies. A severed arm, a slain soldier, and a strewn helmet suggest the violence of battle, though the image itself betrays little ferocity. The details of weaponry, arms, and horse trappings provide a glimpse into the material culture of an early sixteenth-century battle.
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. 64 (b/w).
Bowie, Theodore Robert, and T. Brend. East-West in Art. Patterns of Aesthetic and Cultural Relationships. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 1966.
Jones, Dalu, and George Mitchell, ed. "Hayward Gallery, 8 April-4July 1976." In The Arts of Islam. London: Arts Council of Great Britain, 1976. no. 595b, p. 355, ill., Listed with incorrect accession number (13.228.7).
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