"Gushtasp Slays the Dragon of Mount Saqila", 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
Page: 8 x 5 1/4 in. (20.3 x 13.3 cm)
Painting: 1 15/16 x 4 1/4 in. (5 x 10.8 cm)
Bequest of Monroe C. Gutman, 1974
Not on view
Gushtasp, Prince of Iran, was living in disguise in Rum. In order to win the hand of Caesar's youngest daughter he had to perform a mighty feat - slay the terrible dragon of Mount Saqila. By his courage and prowess Gushtasp prevailed and killed the monster. The dragon takes up two thirds of the composition, its writhing form exuding might and menace. Adding to the dramatic tension, Gushtasp is shown to be in a restricted space from which there appears to be no escape should his mission fail.
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. 30, pp. 107-108, ill. p. 107 (b/w).