"The Coup against Usurper Shah", Folio 745v from the Shahnama (Book of Kings) of Shah Tahmasp
Abu'l Qasim Firdausi (935–1020)
Painting attributed to Dust Muhammad
Folio from an illustrated manuscript
Opaque watercolor, ink, silver, and gold on paper
Painting: H. 7 3/16 x W. 10 7/16 in. (H. 18.2 x W. 26.5 cm)
Entire Page: H. 18 1/2 x W. 12 1/4 in. (H. 47 x W. 31.1 cm)
Gift of Arthur A. Houghton Jr., 1970
Not on view
In the year 630, during a fifty-day reign, Shah Farain Guraz completely dissipated the entire royal treasury. Because of this greed and injustice, the army soon turned against the shah and swore to rid Iran of the usurper. One day while on a hunt, the leader of the coup, Shahran Guraz, drew his bow as if to shoot a stag but instead shot the monarch in the back. The accompanying warriors then began to battle with each other. This illustration appears to take place after the murder of the shah. Unlike many battle scenes, the artist Dust Muhammad has rendered each horse’s armor with great care, resulting in a rhythmic and colorful pattern across the field of the painting
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)
Welch, Stuart Cary. A King's Book of Kings: the Shah-nameh of Shah Tahmasp. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1972. p. 197.
"The Houghton Shah-nameh Miniatures." In Tales from a King's Book of Kings. Corning, NY: Corning Museum of Glass, 1973. no. 52, pp. 58-59, ill. fig. 52 (b/w).
Ettinghausen, Richard, ed. "Das Pferd in der Orientalischen Kunst." In Europäische Kunstzeitschrift. 1978. p. 67.
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. 261 (b/w).
Canby, Sheila R. "The Persian Book of Kings." In The Shahnama of Shah Tahmasp. Madrid, 2011. p. 281, ill. (color).
Canby, Sheila R. "The Persian Book of Kings." In The Shahnama of Shah Tahmasp. New York, 2014. pp. 323, 326, ill. fol. 745v, full-page color ill. p. 323; detail p. 326.
Artist: Abu'l Qasim Firdausi (935–1020)Date: mid-15th centuryMedium: Main support: Ink, opaque watercolor, silver, and gold on paper
Margins: Ink and gold on dyed paperAccession: 20.120.241On view in:Not on view