"The Combat of Rustam and Ashkabus", Folio from a Shahnama (Book of Kings)
Abu'l Qasim Firdausi (935–1020)
Folio from an illustrated manuscript
Iran, probably Isfahan
Ink, opaque watercolor, gold, and silver on paper
Page: 8 x 5 3/16 in. (20.3 x 13.2 cm)
Painting: 1 11/16 x 4 3/16 in. (4.3 x 10.7 cm)
Bequest of Monroe C. Gutman, 1974
Not on view
The arrogant enemy-hero Ashkabus scorns Rustam for facing him on foot, so Rustam ensures that Ashkabus will also be on foot by shooting his horse out from under him. The white cloud suggests the dust of battle. The warrior behind Rustam wears an aventail to protect his face and holds a shield of cane with a radiating pattern, both of which appear, similarly drawn, in other illustrations from this period and must therefore represent actual Ilkhanid armor.
Ph. Walter Schulz, Leipzig, Germany (by 1914); Professor O. Moll, Düsseldorf, Germany ; Monroe C. Gutman, New York (by 1929–d. 1974; bequeathed to MMA)
Masuya, Tomoko. "The Condition of the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Small Shahnama and the Reconstruction of its Text." In Poetry and Epic Images, edited by Marie Lukens Swietochowski, and Stefano Carboni. New York, 1994. pp. 129-145.
Swietochowski, Marie, Stefano Carboni, Tomoko Masuya, and Alexander H. Morton. "Persian Painting of the 1330s and 1340s." In Illustrated Poetry and Epic Images. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1994. no. 19, pp. 94-95, ill. pl. 19 (color).