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"Yazdegird I Kicked to Death by the Water Horse", Folio from a Shahnama (Book of Kings)

Author:
Abu'l Qasim Firdausi (935–1020)
Object Name:
Folio from an illustrated manuscript
Date:
ca. 1300–30
Geography:
Northwestern Iran or Baghdad
Culture:
Islamic
Medium:
Ink, opaque watercolor, silver, and gold on paper
Dimensions:
Painting: H. 2 1/8 in. (5.4 cm) W. 4 7/8 in. (12.4 cm) Page: H. 14 in. (35.6 cm) W. 10 13/16 in. (27.5 cm) Mat: H. 19 1/4 in. (48.9 cm) W. 14 1/4 in. (36.2 cm)
Classification:
Codices
Credit Line:
Cora Timken Burnett Collection of Persian Miniatures and Other Persian Art Objects, Bequest of Cora Timken Burnett, 1956
Accession Number:
57.51.33
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 455
The legendary death of the Sasanian king Yazdegerd I–who was said to have been kicked by a horse that magically emerged from a spring–is charmingly depicted in this leaf from a dispersed manuscript of the Shahnama (Book of Kings) of Firdausi, one of a few codices of small dimensions. The attribution is uncertain either to Iraq or Iran in the Ilkhanid period. The decoratively curving tree and the grassy verge of the groundline, which rings the water, are traditional; the funguslike growths are derived from Chinese art and the costumes are Mongol. The gestures of the figures at the left register astonishment and dismay.
Cora Timken Burnett, Alpine, NJ (by 1940–d. 1956; bequeathed to MMA)
Ackerman, Phyllis. "The Iranian Institute, New York." In Guide to the Exhibition of Persian Art. 2nd. ed. New York: The Iranian Institute, 1940. no. Gallery VII, case 73G, p. 191.

Simpson, Marianna. "The Illustration of an Epic: The Earliest Shahnama Manuscripts." PhD diss., Garland Publishing, Inc., 1979.

de Montebello, Philippe, and Kathleen Howard, ed. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide. 6th ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1992. p. 320, ill. fig. 21 (color).

Alexander, David. Furusiyya: Catalogue. vol. 2. Riyadh,Saudi Arabia: King Abdulaziz Public Library, 1996. no. 202, p. 241, ill. p. 241 (color).



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