"The Execution of Mazdak", 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 1/16 x 5 1/4 in. (20.5 x 13.3 cm)
Painting: 1 5/8 x 4 5/16 in. (4.1 x 10.9 cm)
Bequest of Monroe C. Gutman, 1974
Not on view
The Sasanian prince who was later called Nushirvan, believed the popular religion of Mazdak to be an evil heresy. Thus he planted Mazdak's closest followers head down in a walled garden so that Mazdak might see the fruit of the evil seeds he had scattered. The prince then had a false prophet hanged upside down and slain with arrows, though no arrows are in sight here. Mazdak and an attendant look at the scene at right.
Ph. Walter Schulz, Leipzig, Germany (by 1914); Professor O. Moll, Düsseldorf, Germany ; Monroe C. Gutman, New York (by 1929–d. 1974; bequeathed to MMA)
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. 43, pp. 120-121, ill. pl. 43 (color).