Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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"Iskandar Speaks with the Bird on the Mountain", Folio from a Shahnama (Book of Kings) of Firdausi

Author:
Abu'l Qasim Firdausi (935–1020)
Object Name:
Folio from an illustrated manuscript
Date:
ca. 1330–40
Geography:
Attributed to Iran, probably Isfahan
Medium:
Ink, opaque watercolor, gold, and silver on paper
Dimensions:
Page: 8 1/16 x 5 1/4 in. (20.5 x 13.3 cm) Painting: 1 7/8 x 4 1/4 in. (4.7 x 10.8 cm)
Classification:
Codices
Credit Line:
Bequest of Monroe C. Gutman, 1974
Accession Number:
1974.290.33
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 455
Iskandar (Alexander the Great) finds large birds nesting on tall poles high in the mountains. One speaks to him, sending him to a mountaintop. There, still higher up, he will see Israfil, the angel with the trumpet, who warns him of his impending demise. The extensive damage and patching of the background of this miniature may have obscured the birds on the two pillars that are visible. Iskandar's isolation and despair are movingly depicted.
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. 39.

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. 39, p. 117, ill. (b/w).



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