"Isfandiyar's Second Course: He Slays the Lions", 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 1/8 x 5 1/4 in. (20.6 x 13.4 cm)
Painting: 1 7/8 x 4 5/16 in. (4.8 x 10.9 cm)
Bequest of Monroe C. Gutman, 1974
Not on view
The story of Isfandiyar's encounter with the lions is less frequently depicted than most of the other six dangerous "courses". This absence of a strong illustrative tradition allowed the artist more freedom in his rendering of the scene. The most striking aspect of this miniature is the sympathetic yet naturalistic treatment of the wild animals - challenging, noble, and vibrant beasts in life and thus all the more pathetic in death.
Ph. Walter Schulz, Leipzig, Germany (by 1914); Professor O. Moll, Düsseldorf, Germany ; Monroe C. Gutman, New York (by 1929–d. 1974; bequeathed to MMA)
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. 31, pp. 72, 108-109, ill. p. 108 (b/w).