"Bahram Gur's Skill with the Bow", Folio 17v from a Haft Paikar (Seven Portraits) of the Khamsa (Quintet) of Nizami
Nizami (Ilyas Abu Muhammad Nizam al-Din of Ganja) (probably 1141–1217)
Maulana Azhar (d. 1475/76)
Folio from an illustrated manuscript
present-day Afghanistan, Herat
Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper
Painting: H. 7 13/16 in. (19.8 cm)
W. 6 3/4 in. (17.1 cm)
Page: H. 11 in. (27.9 cm)
W. 7 3/16 in. (18.3 cm)
Mat: H. 19 1/4 in. (48.9 cm)
W. 14 1/4 in. (36.2 cm)
Gift of Alexander Smith Cochran, 1913
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 455
Depicting the Persian hero Bahram Gur hunting with his harp‑playing companion Azada, this painting is one of five illustrations created for a fifteenth-century manuscript of Nizami’s Haft Paikar (Seven Portraits). The manuscript was produced in the celebrated kitabkhana (workshop) established by the Timurid prince Baisunghur (r. ca. 1420–33) during his governorship at Herat. This important workshop created some of the canonical illustrations to Nizami’s text—immediately recognizable, repeated, and emulated over the subsequent centuries.
Inscription: Text inscribed in Persian nasta'liq script by Maulana Azhar (d. A.H. 880/ A.D.1475-6).
Emperor Akbar, India (from 1580); his grandson Shah Jahan, India (in 1658); Alexander Smith Cochran, Yonkers, NY (until 1913; gifted to MMA)
Sakisian, Armenag Bey. "Les Miniaturistes Persans Behzad et Rassim Ali." Gazette des Beaux Arts p. 227, ill. fig. 7 (b/w).
Jackson, A. V. Williams, and A. Yohannan. "Presented to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, by Alexander Smith Cochran." In A Catalogue of the Collection of Persian Manuscripts, Including also Some Turkish and Arabic. 1914. no. 10, p. 71.
Museum of Metropolitan Art Bulletin vol. 33, no. 1 (1975). p. 24, ill. (color).
Lentz, Thomas W., and Glenn D. Lowry. "Persian Art and Culture in the Fifteenth Century." In Timur and the Princely Vision. Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1989. no. 62, pp. 173, 175, 342, ill. p. 175 (color).
Artist: Nizami (Ilyas Abu Muhammad Nizam al-Din of Ganja) (probably 1141–1217)Date: dated A.H. 931/A.D. 1524–25Medium: Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paperAccession: 184.108.40.206On view in:Gallery 455