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"Kai Kavus Attempts to Fly to Heaven", Folio from a Shahnama (Book of Kings)

Abu'l Qasim Firdausi (935–1020)

Object Name:
Folio from an illustrated manuscript
Date:
mid-15th century
Geography:
India
Culture:
Islamic
Medium:
Image: Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper Margins: Ink and gold on dyed paper
Dimensions:
6.5 in. high 7.50 in. wide (16.5 cm high 19.1 cm wide)
Classification:
Codices
Credit Line:
The Grinnell Collection, Bequest of William Milne Grinnell, 1920
Accession Number:
20.120.239
  • Description

    This painting comes from a copy of a highly Persianate Shahnama that was probably made in northern India. The paintings from this book were later placed in an album with brightly colored borders. In the episode illustrated here, the prince Kai Kavus attempts to fly to heaven by fastening young eagles to his throne. The painting shows Kai Kavus, in a gold-domed throne, holding a piece of meat to entice the eagles.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Inscription: Inscription at the top in Persian in thuluth script :
    گفتار اندر فریفتن ابلیس کاوس شاه را و رفتن بآسمان
    Story regarding cheated Kāvūs shāh by devil and going to heaven

    (Abu’l-Qasim Feardowsi,The Shāhnāmeh (The book of kings), ed, Djalal Khalqi- Moṭlagh, Mazda publishers in association with Bibliotheca Persica, Costa Mesa, California and New York, 1990, vol..2, p.95. The title in this edition of The Shāhnāmeh appears as:
    گفتار اندر رفتن شاه کیکاوس بر آسمان (Story regarding going Kaykāvūs shāh to heaven).)
    A.Ghouchani

  • Provenance

    William Milne Grinnell, New York (until d. 1920; bequeathed to MMA)

  • See also
    Who
    What
    Where
    When
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
    MetPublications
447298

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