"Surkha Captured by Faramarz is Condemned by Rustam", Folio 204v 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
Opaque watercolor, ink, silver, and gold on paper
Painting: H. 11 3/16 in. (28.4 cm)
W. 8 7/8 in. (22.5 cm)
Page: H. 18 5/8 in. (47.3 cm)
W. 12 5/8 in. (32.1 cm)
Mat: H. 22 in. (55.9 cm)
W. 16 in. (40.6 cm)
Gift of Arthur A. Houghton Jr., 1970
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 462
The hero Rustam, shown here on horseback wearing a leopard-skin hat, launched war to avenge the death of Siyavush, whom the Turanian king Afrasiyab had executed. Rustam was determined to cause Afrasiyab the same pain by having his son, Surkha, captured and killed. The Chinese‑style kite clouds, winding tree, and doll‑like rendition of the figures’ faces reflect Qasim ibn 'Ali’s grounding in the Turkmen painting tradition.
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)
Mohl, Jules, ed. Le Livre des Rois. Vol. I. Paris, 1876. pp. 354-359.
Welch, Stuart Cary. A King's Book of Kings: the Shah-nameh of Shah Tahmasp. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1972. p. 193.
Dickson, Martin, and Stuart Cary Welch. The Houghton Shahnameh. Vol. vols. I & II. Cambridge, Mass. and London, England: Harvard University Press, 1981. vol. II, ill. pl. 127 (b/w).
Canby, Sheila R. "The Persian Book of Kings." In The Shahnama of Shah Tahmasp. Madrid, 2011. p. 147, ill. (color), folio 204v.
Canby, Sheila R. "The Persian Book of Kings." In The Shahnama of Shah Tahmasp. New York, 2014. pp. 189, 326, 332, ill. fol. 204v, full-page color ill. p. 189; detail pp. 326, 332.