"Rustam Carrying the King of Mazandaran to Kai Kavus", Folio from a Shahnama (Book of Kings)
Abu'l Qasim Firdausi (935–1020)
Folio from an illustrated manuscript
Attributed to India
Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper
Image: H. 10 1/4 in. (26 cm)
W. 10 3/8 in. (26.4 cm)
Page: H. 12 5/8 in. (32.1 cm)
W. 12 1/2 in. (31.8 cm)
Mat: H. 19 1/4 in. (48.9 cm)
W. 14 1/4 in. (36.2 cm)
The Grinnell Collection, Bequest of William Milne Grinnell, 1920
Not on view
The matchless Rustam persuaded Shah Kai Kavus that Iran would be disgraced if war were not made on Mazandaran and its arrogant div king humbled. In the course of a mightly battle Rustam espied the enemy king, charged him and pierced his mail with a spear. Before he could be killed, however, the div, by his magic arts, turned himself into a stone. Only Rustam was strong enough to lift the rock and carry it to the Iranian shah. He then threatened to break the rock to bits unless the div resumed his own shape. When he complies, Kai Kavus saw that he was not worthy of kingship and ordered him executed. The artist has unequivocally rendered the might of the hero Rustam, shown larger than other figures and further dramatized by his pictured progress along the top of a foreground's ridge. The shah is shown, not before his tent as described in the epic, but sitting regally upon a white horse under a grand royal umbrella.
William Milne Grinnell, New York (until d. 1920; bequeathed to MMA)
Joseph Breck. "The William Milne Grinell Bequest." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, o.s., vol. XV (1920). pp. 273-275.
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.
Islamic Painting. 1933.
Dimand, Maurice S. A Handbook of Muhammadan Art. 2nd rev. and enl. ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1944. pp. 38-39.