"Rustam Lassos the Khaqan of Chin, Pulling him from his White Elephant", 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 1/16 x 5 1/4 in. (20.5 x 13.3 cm)
Painting: 1 7/16 x 4 3/16 in. (3.7 x 10.6 cm)
Bequest of Monroe C. Gutman, 1974
Not on view
The Khaqan (khan) of Chin (China) become an ally of the Turanians and faced the Iranians with a vast army, including many sumptuously adorned war elephants. Rustam, despite the enormous odds, was determined to capture the khan and take the booty to the Iranian shah, Kai Khusrau. Rustam charged through a barrage of missiles unscathed, flung his lasso, pulled the khan from his white elephant, bound him as a prisoner, and duly sent the loot to the shah. Although the confrontation has been reduced to the two principals and their attendant warriors, the presentation is still dramatic, with Rustam tightening the taut rope and the khan vainly trying to resist.
Ph. Walter Schulz, Leipzig, Germany (by 1914); Professor O. Moll, Düsseldorf, Germany ; Monroe C. Gutman, New York (by 1929–d. 1974; bequeathed to MMA)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Illustrated Poetry and Epic Images: Persian Painting of the 1330s and 1340s," February 1, 1994–May 1, 1994.
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. 20, p. 96, ill. pl. 20 (b/w).