"Rustam Avenges his Own Impending Death", 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 1/4 in. (20.3 x 13.3 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
Rustam's half-brother Shaghad dug a pit, filled it with sharp spikes, and covered it to trap the hero. Observing from behind a tree and exulting when Rustam and his horse fall into the pit and are impaled, Shaghad is killed by the dying hero's last arrow, which is shot with such strength that it pierces the tree. The scene is illustrated in an effective manner, with only Shaghad's head protruding from behind the tree. The mushroomlike rock on the left is a motif from Chinese painting that entered the Ilkhanid repertoire.
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. 37, pp. 114-115, ill. pl. 37 (color).