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Shahnama (Book of Kings) of Firdausi

Artist:
Painting by Mu'in Musavvir (active ca. 1630–97)
Author:
Abu'l Qasim Firdausi (935–1020)
Object Name:
Illustrated manuscript
Date:
1660s
Geography:
Iran, probably Isfahan
Culture:
Islamic
Medium:
Ink, opaque watercolor, gold, and silver on paper
Dimensions:
Painting (folio 158v): H. 9 15/16 in. (25.2 cm) W. 5 5/8 in. (14.3 cm) Text block: H. 14 5/16 in. (36.4 cm) W. 8 9/16 in. (21.7 cm) Binding: H. 14 1/2 in. (36.8 cm) W. 9 1/16 in. (23 cm) D. 2 in. (5.1 cm)
Classification:
Codices
Credit Line:
Bequest of Monroe C. Gutman, 1974
Accession Number:
1974.290.43
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 462
Fol. 158v: The Div Akvan carries Rustam to the Sea
On a quest to find a div (demon) that had been killing the shah’s herds, Rustam grew tired and went to sleep in a meadow. The div, Akvan, spied him and lifted him with the mound of earth on which he lay. As Rustam trembled with fear, Akvan said: "Tell me where you want me to leave you. Shall I throw you into the sea or onto the mountains?" Rustam chose the mountains, knowing that the div would do the opposite. The orange div with its flaming gold eyelids and strangely shaped horns is typical within the work of Mu‘in Musavvir, who illustrated a number of Shahnama manuscripts in the second half of the seventeenth century.
Inscription: Signature in Persian in nasta‘liq script:
رقم كمينه معين مصور غفر عنهم
Work of the humble Mu‘in Musavvir, forgive his sins
Ph. Walter Schulz, Leipzig, Germany (by 1914); Professor O. Moll, Düsseldorf, Germany ; Monroe C. Gutman, New York (by 1929–d. 1974; bequeathed to MMA)
Stchoukine, Ivan. Les Peintures des Manuscrits de Shah Abbas Ier à la Fin des Safavis. Bibliotheque Archeologique et Historique, Vol. tome LXXVI. Paris: Librairie Orientaliste Paul Geuthner, 1964. pp. 62-72, passim; discussed p. 70.

"Masterpieces from The Metropolitan Museum of Art New York." In The Arts of Islam. Berlin, 1981. no. 83, pp. 204-205, ill. p. 205 (b/w).

Ekhtiar, Maryam, Sheila R. Canby, Navina Haidar, and Priscilla P. Soucek, ed. Masterpieces from the Department of Islamic Art in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1st ed. ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2011. no. 154, pp. 228-229, ill. p. 228 (color).



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