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"Isfandiyar's Fourth Course: He Slays a Sorceress", Folio 435v from the Shahnama (Book of Kings) of Shah Tahmasp

Author:
Abu'l Qasim Firdausi (935–1020)
Artist:
Painting attributed to Qasim ibn 'Ali (active ca. 1525–60)
Workshop director:
Aqa Mirak (active ca. 1525–60)
Object Name:
Folio from an illustrated manuscript
Date:
ca. 1525–30
Geography:
Iran, Tabriz
Culture:
Islamic
Medium:
Opaque watercolor, ink, silver, and gold on paper
Dimensions:
Painting: H. 7 3/16 in. (18.3 cm) W. 7 1/16 in. (18 cm) Page: H. 18 11/16 in. (47.5 cm) W. 12 5/8 in. (32.1 cm) Mat: H. 22 in. (55.9 cm) W. 16 in. (40.6 cm)
Classification:
Codices
Credit Line:
Gift of Arthur A. Houghton Jr., 1970
Accession Number:
1970.301.52
Not on view
The hero Isfandiyar performs a series of feats, or "courses," parallel to those of Rustam. In this scene, Isfandiyar has slain a sorceress, who lies bleeding in the foreground next to a mountain stream whose once-silver water has tarnished to black. The squat figures reflect Qasim ibn 'Ali’s grounding in Turkmen painting, while the dramatically piled rocks and clouds are elements that were shared by painters of both Turkmen Tabriz and Timurid Herat background.
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. 404-408.

"The Houghton Shah-nameh Miniatures." In Tales from a King's Book of Kings. Corning, NY: Corning Museum of Glass, 1973. no. 42, p. 50.

Welch, Stuart Cary. A King's Book of Kings: the Shah-nameh of Shah Tahmasp. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1972. p. 195.

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. 202 (b/w).

Canby, Sheila R. "The Persian Book of Kings." In The Shahnama of Shah Tahmasp. Madrid, 2011. p. 222, ill. (color), folio 435v.

Canby, Sheila R. "The Persian Book of Kings." In The Shahnama of Shah Tahmasp. New York, 2014. pp. 264, 332, ill. fol. 435v, full-page color ill. p. 264; detail p. 332.



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