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"The Fire Ordeal of Siyavush", Folio from a Shahnama (Book of Kings) of Firdausi

Author:
Abu'l Qasim Firdausi (935–1020)
Object Name:
Folio from an illustrated manuscript
Date:
1482
Geography:
Iran, probably Shiraz
Culture:
Islamic
Medium:
Ink, watercolor, and gold on paper
Dimensions:
12 3/16 x 7 15/16in. (31 x 20.2cm)
Classification:
Codices
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1945
Accession Number:
45.150
Not on view
After Prince Siyavush rejected the amorous advances of his stepmother Sudaba, she falsely accused him of being the aggressor in the affair. To prove his innocence, the young prince insisted upon undergoing ordeal by fire. This illustration follows the story closely, as it depicts him dressed all in white on a black charger. Coming through the flames unscathed, Siyavush is a symbol of purity and innocence. He is later murdered by traitors, a crime that leads to the long series of wars between Iran and Turan that are recounted at length in the Shahnama.
[ Heeramaneck Galleries, New York, until 1945; sold to MMA]
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