"Rustam is Thrown into the Sea by the Div Akvan", Folio from a Shahnama (Book of Kings) of Firdausi
Abu'l Qasim Firdausi (935–1020)
Folio from an illustrated manuscript
Iran, probably Isfahan
Ink, opaque watercolor, gold, and silver on paper
Painting: H. 1 7/8 in. (4.8 cm)
W. 4 1/4 in. (10.8 cm)
Page: H. 8 in. (20.3 cm)
W. 5 5/16 in. (13.5 cm)
Mat: H. 19 1/4 in. (48.9 cm)
W. 14 1/4 in. (36.2 cm)
Bequest of Monroe C. Gutman, 1974
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 455
The illustration of Rustam's encounter with the div Akvan, showing the hero in the water defending himself against a sea monster in the form of a lion while the evil div looks on from the shore, is as unique as it is charming. The established iconography usually pictures Rustam asleep on a piece of sod held aloft by the div, who offers him the choice to be thrown to death onto the rocky mountains or into the sea. Rustam, knowing that the div will do the opposite, chose the mountains and thus survives the perils of the sea.
Ph. Walter Schulz, Leipzig, Germany (by 1914); Professor O. Moll, Düsseldorf, Germany ; Monroe C. Gutman, New York (by 1929–d. 1974; bequeathed to MMA)
Welch, Stuart Cary. "Art and Culture 1300–1900." In India!. New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1985. no. 73, pp. 128-129, ill. p. 128 (color).
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. 23, pp. 98-99, ill. pl. 23 (color).