"Rustam Shoots His Half-brother Shaghad through a Plane Tree", 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
H. 8 7/8 in. (22.5 cm)
W. 6 3/8 in. (16.2 cm)
Samuel D. Lee Fund, 1940
Not on view
Rustam, the great epic hero of the Iran, was lured by his treacherous half-brother to ride over a hidden pit implanted with spears, which impaled him and his trusted horse Raksh. However, with the last vestige of his strength, Rustam was able to shoot his murderer through the tree behind which he was lurking. This miniature is in the forthright style associated with the city of Shiraz under the Aq Qoyonlu (White Sheep) Turkoman domination. The compositions are usually simplified and balanced, while the overall effect is both vigorous and decorative.
Inscription: In Persian in nasta’liq script verses from the Shāhnma of Ferdowsī , story گفتار اندر کشته شدن رستم با زواره در چاه نخجیرگان (story of the killing of Zavāra by Rustam at the Nakhjirgan well.)
(Abu’l-Qasim Feardowsi,The Shāhnāmeh (The book of kings), ed, Djalal Khalqi- Muṭlagh, Mazda publishers in association with Bibliotheca Persica, Costa Mesa, California and New York, 1997, vol.5, p.452-53.)
Marking: See attached card.
[ Heeramaneck Galleries, New York, until 1940; sold to MMA]
Venice. Fondazione Giorgio Cini. "Miniature Islamiche dal XIII al XIX Secolo," 1962, no. 50.
Palm Beach, FL. The Society of the Four Arts. "Loan to the Society of the Four Arts, Palm Beach, Fl," February 2, 1962–February 27, 1962, no catalogue.
Edinburgh. Scottish Arts Council. "The Imperial Theme in Persian Miniature Painting," August 13, 1977–September 11, 1977, no. 206.
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. 50, pp. 68-69, ill. pl. 50 (b/w).
Hillenbrand, Robert. Imperial Images in Persian Painting. Edinburgh: Scottish Arts Council Gallery, 1977. no. 206, pp. 93-94.