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"Kai Kavus Attempts to Fly to Heaven", Folio from a Shahnama (Book of Kings)

Author:
Abu'l Qasim Firdausi (935–1020)
Object Name:
Folio from an illustrated manuscript
Date:
mid-15th century
Geography:
Attributed to India
Medium:
Image: Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper Margins: Ink and gold on dyed paper
Dimensions:
6.5 in. high 7.50 in. wide (16.5 cm high 19.1 cm wide)
Classification:
Codices
Credit Line:
The Grinnell Collection, Bequest of William Milne Grinnell, 1920
Accession Number:
20.120.239
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 463
This painting comes from a copy of a highly Persianate Shahnama that was probably made in northern India. The paintings from this book were later placed in an album with brightly colored borders. In the episode illustrated here, the prince Kai Kavus attempts to fly to heaven by fastening young eagles to his throne. The painting shows Kai Kavus, in a gold-domed throne, holding a piece of meat to entice the eagles.
Inscription: Inscription at the top in Persian in thuluth script :
گفتار اندر فریفتن ابلیس کاوس شاه را و رفتن بآسمان
Story regarding cheated Kāvūs shāh by devil and going to heaven

(Abu’l-Qasim Feardowsi,The Shāhnāmeh (The book of kings), ed, Djalal Khalqi- Moṭlagh, Mazda publishers in association with Bibliotheca Persica, Costa Mesa, California and New York, 1990, vol..2, p.95. The title in this edition of The Shāhnāmeh appears as:
گفتار اندر رفتن شاه کیکاوس بر آسمان (Story regarding going Kaykāvūs shāh to heaven).)
A.Ghouchani
William Milne Grinnell, New York (until d. 1920; bequeathed to MMA)
London. Burlington House. "International Exhibition of Persian Art," January 7, 1931–February 28, 1931, no. 468a.

Venice. Fondazione Giorgio Cini. "Miniature Islamiche dal XIII al XIX Secolo," 1962, no. 36.

Portland, ME. Portland Museum of Art. "Beauty and Belief: Crossing Bridges with the Arts of Islamic Culture," June 15, 2013–September 8, 2013, p. 100.

Joseph Breck. "The William Milne Grinell Bequest." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, o.s., vol. XV (1920). pp. 273-275.

Wilson, Arnold T. "7th January to 28th February, 1931." In Catalogue of the International Exhibition of Persian Art. 3rd. ed. London: Royal Academy of Arts, 1931. no. 468a, pp. 63, 240.

Binyon, Laurence, Basil Gray, and James Vere Stewart Wilkinson. "Including a Descriptive Catalogue of the Miniatures Exhibited at Burlington House." In Persian Miniature Painting. London, 1933.

Dimand, Maurice S. "New York, October 9 through January 7, 1933–1934." In A Guide to an Exhibition of Islamic Miniature Painting and Book Illumination. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1933. p. 28.

Dimand, Maurice S. Persian Miniatures. A Picture Book. Metropolitan Museum of Art Picture Books. New York, 1940. ill. fig. 7 (b/w).

Dimand, Maurice S. A Handbook of Muhammadan Art. 2nd rev. and enl. ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1944. pp. 38-39.

Grube, Ernst J. "from Collections in the United States and Canada." In Muslim Miniature Paintings from the XIII to XIX Century. Venice: N. Pozza, 1962. no. 36, p. 49, ill. pl. 36 (b/w).

Swietochowski, Marie, and Richard Ettinghausen. "Islamic Painting." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, n.s., vol. 36, no. 2 (Autumn 1978). pp. 36-37, ill. pp. 36-37 (b/w).

Ekhtiar, Maryam, Sheila R. Canby, Navina Haidar, and Priscilla P. Soucek, ed. Masterpieces from the Department of Islamic Art in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1st ed. ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2011. no. 239A, pp. 4, 343, ill. p. 343 (color).

Al Khemir Sabiha Dr. "Crossing Bridges with the Arts of Islamic Culture." In Beauty and Belief. Provo, UT: Brigham Young University, 2012. pp. 100, 217, ill. (color).



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