"Isfandiyar's Sixth Course: He Comes Through the Snow", Folio 438r from the Shahnama (Book of Kings) of Shah Tahmasp
Abu'l Qasim Firdausi (935–1020)
Painting attributed to 'Abd al-Vahhab
Folio from an illustrated manuscript
Made in Iran, Tabriz
Opaque watercolor, ink, silver, and gold on paper
Painting: H. 11 1/8 x W. 7 7/16 in. (H. 28.2 x W. 18.9 cm)
Entire Page: H. 18 9/16 x W. 12 11/16 in. (H. 47.1 x W. 32.2 cm)
Gift of Arthur A. Houghton Jr., 1970
Not on view
After three days and nights of ceaseless snow and terrible cold, everyone in Isfandiyar’s army turned to prayer. Instantly the clouds blew away, and they gave thanks to God. Here, Isfandiyar’s followers prepare for the storm, warming themselves beside campfires and securing their tents. Most scenes in the Shahnama have no reference to weather. Either the sun shines or the stars twinkle in the sky. Here, however, the artist successfully conveys the sense of the beginning of a heavy snowfall against a gray sky.
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. 411-418.
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. 204 (b/w).
Canby, Sheila R. "The Persian Book of Kings." In The Shahnama of Shah Tahmasp. Madrid, 2011. p. 224, ill. (color), folio 438r.
Canby, Sheila R. The Shahnama of Shah Tahmasp: The Persian Book of Kings. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2014. p. 266, ill. fol. 438r.