"The Iranians Mourn Farud and Jarira", Folio 236r from the Shahnama (Book of Kings) of Shah Tahmasp
Abu'l Qasim Firdausi (935–1020)
Painting attributed to Mirza Muhammad Qabahat
Painting attributed to 'Abd al-'Aziz (active first half 16th century)
Folio from an illustrated manuscript
Made in Iran, Tabriz
Opaque watercolor, ink, silver, and gold on paper
Painting: H. 11 1/4 x W. 7 5/16 in. (H. 28.6 x W. 18.6 cm)
Entire Page: H. 18 5/8 x W. 12 1/2 in. (H. 47.3 x W. 31.8 cm)
Gift of Arthur A. Houghton Jr., 1970
Not on view
The Shahnama is filled with tragic events and moments of intense drama. On the page illustrated here, the painters have depicted the mourning of Iranians over the tragic destiny of Farud, the son of Prince Siyavush, and Jarira, his mother. After witnessing her son's death, Jarira ripped open her belly with a dagger. Then, lying down with her face against Farud's, she let herself die. The scene is one of the most emotionally charged in the entire manuscript. The women pull out their hair and cry, the courtiers beat their heads in despair, while the the creased expressions on their faces convey intense compassion. Even though Islamic painting is considered to be idealized, the painters of this Shahnama reveal instead a profound awareness of human emotions, which are depicted with great sensitivity.
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)
Corning, NY. Corning Museum of Glass. "Tales from a King's Book of Kings," November 17, 1973–January 31, 1974, no. 37.
Baltimore. Baltimore Museum of Art. "Tales from a King's Book of Kings," February 12, 1974–March 31, 1974, no. 37.
Mohl, Jules, ed. Le Livre des Rois. Vol. I. Paris, 1876. pp. 508-511.
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.
"The Houghton Shah-nameh Miniatures." In Tales from a King's Book of Kings. Corning, NY: Corning Museum of Glass, 1973. no. 37, pp. 46-47.
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. 142 (b/w).
Canby, Sheila R. "The Persian Book of Kings." In The Shahnama of Shah Tahmasp. Madrid, 2011. p. 162, ill. (color), folio 236r.
Canby, Sheila R. The Shahnama of Shah Tahmasp: The Persian Book of Kings. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2014. pp. 204, 325, 327, ill. fol. 236r, full-page color ill. p. 204; detail pp. 325, 327