"Rustam and Isfandiyar Begin Their Combat", Folio 461v 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. 5 7/8 x W. 7 1/4 in. (H. 14.9 x W. 18.4 cm)
Entire Page: H. 18 11/16 x W. 12 5/8 in. (H. 47.5 x W. 32.1 cm)
Gift of Arthur A. Houghton Jr., 1970
Not on view
After a lengthy discussion of Gushtasp's demands of Rustam and his and Isfandiyar's obligations to the shah, they decide to resolve the disagreement through combat. Fighting first with lances, they parry and pierce each other's armor until the lances fall apart. They then turn to their swords but again succeed only in breaking each other's weapons. So it goes with maces and hand combat as well, and by the end of the day, neither has the upper hand. They decide to rest.
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. 44.
Baltimore. Baltimore Museum of Art. "Tales from a King's Book of Kings," February 12, 1974–March 31, 1974, no. 44.
Mohl, Jules, ed. Le Livre des Rois. Vol. I. Paris, 1876. pp. 518-522.
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.
"The Houghton Shah-nameh Miniatures." In Tales from a King's Book of Kings. Corning, NY: Corning Museum of Glass, 1973. no. 44, p. 51.
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. 208 (b/w).
Canby, Sheila R. "The Persian Book of Kings." In The Shahnama of Shah Tahmasp. Madrid, 2011. p. 228, ill. (color), folio 461v.
Canby, Sheila R. The Shahnama of Shah Tahmasp: The Persian Book of Kings. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2014. p. 270, ill. fol. 461v.