"Kai Khusrau's War Prizes Are Pledged", Folio 225v from the Shahnama (Book of Kings) of Shah Tahmasp
Abu'l Qasim Firdausi (935–1020)
Painting attributed to Aqa Mirak (active ca. 1525–60)
Folio from an illustrated manuscript
Made in Iran, Tabriz
Opaque watercolor, ink, silver, and gold on paper
Painting: H. 9 5/16 in. (23.7 cm)
W. 10 7/16 in. (26.5 cm)
Page: H. 18 5/8 in. (47.3 cm)
W. 12 1/2 in. (31.8 cm)
Mat: H. 22 in. (55.9 cm)
W. 16 in. (40.6 cm)
Gift of Arthur A. Houghton Jr., 1970
Not on view
In preparation for war with the Turanians, Kai Khusrau ordered treasures and armor to be brought forth from the royal treasury and promised as prizes to the winners of six feats of prowess in the coming hostilities. Trays of gems and armor sit on the ground before the king. The style of this painting is characteristic of the third director of the Shahnama project, Aqa Mirak. The harmony of the composition is achieved not only by balancing solids and voids but also through the distribution of ultramarine blue, orange-red, and light green across the image against a ground of light blue.
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.
Museum für Islamische Kunst, Pergamonmuseum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. "The Arts of Islam. Masterpieces from the M.M.A.," June 15, 1981–August 8, 1981, no. 76.
Mohl, Jules, ed. Le Livre des Rois. Vol. I. Paris, 1876. pp. 457-463.
Welch, Stuart Cary. A King's Book of Kings: the Shah-nameh of Shah Tahmasp. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1972. pp. 152-155, ill. pp. 153-155, 225v (color, b/w).
"Masterpieces from The Metropolitan Museum of Art New York." In The Arts of Islam. Berlin, 1981. no. 76, pp. 190-191, ill. p. 191 (b/w).
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. 137 (b/w).
Canby, Sheila R. "The Persian Book of Kings." In The Shahnama of Shah Tahmasp. Madrid, 2011. p. 157, ill. (color), folio 225v.
Rüstem, Ünver. "The Afterlife of a Royal Gift: The Ottoman Inserts of the Shahnama-i Shahi." Muqarnas vol. 29 (2012). pp. 288, 289, 308, ill. figs. 12,13, (color).
Canby, Sheila R. The Shahnama of Shah Tahmasp: The Persian Book of Kings. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2014. pp. 199, 50, ill. fol. 225v, Full-page color ill. p. 199; detail p. 50.