"The Final Joust of the Rooks: Gudarz Versus Piran", Folio 346r 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)
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. 11 x W. 7 1/2 in. (H. 27.9 x W. 19 cm)
Entire Page: H. 18 9/16 x W. 12 3/4 in. (H. 47.1 x W. 32.4 cm)
Gift of Arthur A. Houghton Jr., 1970
Not on view
The artist has captured the essentials of this tragic story with delicate sensitivity. The Iranian Gudarz has wounded the old Turanian warrior Piran, but in respect for his seasoned enemy, has offered him safe passage to the Turanian army. Piran, seen through a gap in the rocks, refuses this, preferring the inevitable warrior’s death to surrender. The grooms in the foreground frame the scene, in which the poses of the two adversaries—Gudarz in pursuit, Piran skulking up the mountain—give visual expression to the essential dilemma of the story.
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.
Mohl, Jules, ed. Le Livre des Rois. Vol. I. Paris, 1876. pp. 464-468.
Welch, Stuart Cary. A King's Book of Kings: the Shah-nameh of Shah Tahmasp. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1972. p. 194.
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. 183 (b/w).
Petrosyan, Yuri A., Marie Lukens Swietochowski, Stefano Carboni, Oleg F. Akimushkin, Anas B. Khalidov, and Efim A. Rezvan. "Islamic Paintings and Calligraphy from the Russian Academy of Sciences, St. Petersburg." In Pages of Perfection. Lugano, Switzerland: Arch Foundation, 1995. p. 104, ill. fig. 11 (color).
Canby, Sheila R. "The Persian Book of Kings." In The Shahnama of Shah Tahmasp. Madrid, 2011. p. 203, ill. (color), folio 346r.
Canby, Sheila R. The Shahnama of Shah Tahmasp: The Persian Book of Kings. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2014. pp. 245, 54, ill. fol. 346r, full-page ill. p. 245; detail p. 54.