"Alexander Executes Janusiyar and Mahiyar, the Slayers of Darius", Folio from a Shahnama (Book of Kings) of Firdausi
Abu'l Qasim Firdausi (935–1020)
Folio from an illustrated manuscript
dated A.H. 887/A.D. 1482
Made in Iran, Shiraz
Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper
8 3/4 x 5 3/8in. (22.2 x 13.6cm)
Samuel D. Lee Fund, 1940
Not on view
Alexander the Great figures prominently in Persian literature and histories, including in the Shahnama, where he is described as the half-brother of the Persian king Darab, who is sometimes considered to be the historical figure Darius. Alexander and Darius go to war, and Darius’s attendants decide to kill him and pledge their allegiance to Alexander. When Alexander discovers the dying Darius, however, he tells him of their common parentage and executes Janusiyar and Mahiyar.
Inscription: Definition: Persian Location: Colophon Style: Naskhi Transliteration: Tamam shud kitab-i Shahnama ba-farrakhi u firuzi az guftar-i malik al-shu ara Firdawsi Tusi rahmat allaf alayh wa-ghafara lahu wa-hassana tawfigahu wa'lhamd lillah rabb al-alamin dar tarikh-i salkh-i mah-i mubarak-i Shawwal sana-i sab wa-thamanin wa-thamanmi'a al-hijriyya-i nabawiyya-i mustafawiyya ala yad al-daif al-faqir al-haqir Murshid b. Izz al-Din Wazan ghafara allah an sayyi'atih, tamm. Translation: Finished is the Book of Kings by the king of poets Firdawsi of Tus...at the end of Shawwal in the year 887 of the hegira, [copied] by the poor, insignificant Murshid b. Izz al-Din Wazan, may God forgive his sins. Notes: Translation and transliteration by Wheeler Thaxton, 3 April 1987.
Marking: See attached card.
[ Heeramaneck Galleries, New York, until 1940; sold to MMA]
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. p. 68 (listed).