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: Attributed to Iran, probably Isfahan

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


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.