"Rakhsh Kills a Lion while Rustam is Asleep", 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
Text block: 6 1/16 x 4 13/16 in. (15.4 x 12.3 cm)
Painting: 1 13/16 x 3 5/16 in. (4.6 x 8.4 cm)
Rogers Fund, 1969
Not on view
The two miniatures 69.74.8 and 69.74.9 illustrate the first and second of Rustam's seven ordeals. The first depicts the frequently illustrated scene of Rustam's gallant horse Rakhsh killing a lion while the hero sleeps. The subject of the second miniature is, on the other hand, rarely depicted. Rustam and Rakhsh nearly die of heat and thirst in the desert before, with the help of divine providence, they find a spring. Rustam bathes and grooms his faithful steed by the water's edge, as seen here. The painter is very sympathetic to the closeness between the hero and his trustworthy Rakhsh.
Textile Museum, Washington (until 1969; sold to MMA)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Riding Across Central Asia: Images of the Mongolian Horse in Islamic Art," April 26, 2000–November 12, 2000, no catalogue.
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. 270.