"Siyavush Plays Polo before Afrasiyab", Folio 180v from the Shahnama (Book of Kings) of Shah Tahmasp
Abu'l Qasim Firdausi (935–1020)
Painting attributed to Qasim ibn 'Ali (active ca. 1525–60)
Mir Musavvir (active 1525–60)
Folio from an illustrated manuscript
Made in Iran, Tabriz
Opaque watercolor, ink, silver, and gold on paper
Painting: H. 11 3/16 in. (28.4 cm)
W. 9 5/16 in. (23.7 cm)
Entire Page: H. 18 5/8 in. (47.3 cm)
W. 12 9/16 in. (31.9 cm)
Gift of Arthur A. Houghton Jr., 1970
Not on view
The Turanian king Afrasiyab suggested a game of polo and Siyavush accepted, requesting, however, that he be allowed Iranian players for his team, as Turanians would not play their hardest against their own king. Afrasiyab agreed and was wonderfully impressed with the outstanding skill of Siyavush as a player and horseman. Like the other Iranians, Siyavush wears a tall baton, or taj, in his turban. He is the player on the black horse in the center of the field; Afrasiyab, mounted, watches from the horizon.
Shah Tahmasp, Iran (until 1568; gifted to Selim II); Sultan Selim II, Istanbul (from 1568); Sultan Selim III, Istanbul (by 1800); Baron Edmond de Rothschild, Paris (by 1903–d. 1934); his son, Baron Maurice de Rothschild, Paris and Pregny, near Geneva (by 1955–d. 1957); [ Stiebel Ltd., New York, until 1959; sold to Houghton]; Arthur A. Houghton Jr., New York (1959–70; gifted to MMA)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "A King's Book of Kings: Persian Miniatures from Shah Tahmasp's Shahnama of 1528," May 4, 1972–December 31, 1972, no catalog.
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Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution. "Asian Games: The Art of Contest," February 26, 2005–May 15, 2005, 22:13.
Middlebury College Museum of Art. "Asian Games: The Art of Contest," September 8, 2005–December 11, 2005, 22:13.
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Mackenzie, Colin. "Games as Signifers of Cultural Identity in Asia: Weiqi and Polo." Orientations Vol. 35 #6 (September, 2004). p. 54, ill. fig. 13 (color).
Canby, Sheila R. "The Persian Book of Kings." In The Shahnama of Shah Tahmasp. Madrid, 2011. p. 135, ill. (color), folio 180v.
Ekhtiar, Maryam, and Claire Moore, ed. "A Resource for Educators." In Art of the Islamic World. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2012. pp. 148-149, ill. pl. 29 (color).
Canby, Sheila R. The Shahnama of Shah Tahmasp: The Persian Book of Kings. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2014. p. 177, ill. fol. 180v.