"Bahram Gur Slays a Dragon", Folio from a Shahnama (Book of Kings)
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 x 5 1/4 in. (20.3 x 13.3 cm)
Painting: 1 5/8 x 4 1/4 in. (4.1 x 10.8 cm)
Bequest of Monroe C. Gutman, 1974
Not on view
While out hunting, Bahram Gur encountered an awesome dragon. He shot two arrows into it and cut it open with his sword. The shah was horrified to find a dead youth inside it. Half- blinded by his grief for the youth and by the dragon's venom, Bahram pulled the body out of the dragon. In spite of the patch over the center of the picture, the scene is quite clear. The shah's horse appears stiffly-even crudely-drawn, but the foliage of the tree on the left and the stalwart determination expressed by the figure of Bahram are well executed.
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. 41.
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. 41, pp. 118-119, ill. pl. 41 (b/w).