"Iskandar Kills the Habash Monster", Folio from a Shahnama (Book of Kings) of Firdausi
Abu'l Qasim Firdausi (935–1020)
Folio from an illustrated manuscript
Attributed to Northwestern Iran or Baghdad
Ink, opaque watercolor, silver, and gold on paper
Painting: H. 2 1/8 in. (5.4 cm)
W. 4 7/8 in. (12.4 cm)
Page: H. 7 1/4 in. (18.4 cm)
W. 6 1/8 in. (15.6 cm)
Mat: H. 19 1/4 in. (48.9 cm)
W. 14 1/4 in. (36.2 cm)
Rogers Fund, 1969
Not on view
The leader of a pack of huge wolves encountered by Iskandar and his troops in Habash (Abyssinia) is described by the poet as having one dark horn on its head. The artist has depicted a long unicorn-like creature and has added flames from the shoulders. The strong decorative sense so inherent in Persian painting throughout its history remains paramount in this painting, in spite of the fearsome struggle taking place, or the appearance of such foreign elements as Mongol costumes and caps.
Textile Museum, Washington (until 1969; sold to MMA)
Mexico City. Colegio de San Ildefonso. "Arte islamico del Museo Metropolitano de Arte de Nueva York," September 30, 1994–January 8, 1995, no. 13.
Swietochowski, Marie, and Marilyn Jenkins-Madina. Notable Acquisitions 1965–1975 (1975). p. 133, ill. (b/w).
Simpson, Marianna. "The Illustration of an Epic: The Earliest Shahnama Manuscripts." PhD diss., Garland Publishing, Inc., 1979. p. 373.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Daniel S. Walker, Arturo Ponce Guadián, Sussan Babaie, Stefano Carboni, Aimee Froom, Marie Lukens Swietochowski, Tomoko Masuya, Annie Christine Daskalakis-Matthews, Abdallah Kahil, and Rochelle Kessler. "Colegio de San Ildefonso, Septiembre de 1994-Enero de 1995." In Arte Islámico del Museo Metropolitano de Arte de Nueva York. Mexico City: Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes, 1994. no. 13, pp. 70-71, ill. p. 71 (b/w).