"Iskandar in the Presence of the Brahmins", Folio from a Shahnama (Book of Kings) of Firdausi
Abu'l Qasim Firdausi (935–1020)
Folio from an illustrated manuscript
Attributed to Iran, probably Isfahan
Ink, opaque watercolor, gold, and silver on paper
Page: 8 1/16 x 4 7/8 in. (20.5 x 12.4 cm)
Painting: 1 7/8 x 4 5/16 in. (4.8 x 11 cm)
Bequest of Monroe C. Gutman, 1974
Not on view
Iskandar (Alexander the Great) traveled to the land of the Brahmins to learn their philosophy. He found them content in their quest for wisdom and knowledge, which are more enduring goals than crown, conquest, and treasure. Here, the Brahims are shown in the simplest of robes and with the curving-leaf headgear traditionally depicted in miniatures on such otherworldly beings as nymphs, fairies, and angels.
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, no. 38.
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. Illustrated Poetry and Epic Images:Persian Painting of the 1330s and 1340s. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1994. no. 38, p. 116, ill. (b/w).