"Faramarz Encircled While Battling Bahman", Folio 475r from the Shahnama (Book of Kings) of Shah Tahmasp
Abu'l Qasim Firdausi (935–1020)
Painting attributed to Aqa Mirak (active ca. 1525–60)
Folio from an illustrated manuscript
Made in Iran, Tabriz
Opaque watercolor, ink, silver, and gold on paper
Painting: H. 10 1/16 x W. 9 7/16 in. (H. 25.5 x W. 24 cm) Entire Page: H. 18 5/8 x W. 12 5/8 in. (H. 47.3 x W. 32.1 cm)
Gift of Arthur A. Houghton Jr., 1970
Not on view
Bahman, the son of Isfandiyar, wished to avenge his father’s death by destroying Zabulistan (Sistan) and the remaining family of Rustam. Faramarz, Rustam’s son, is shown here valiantly defending his homeland, but in the end he lost the battle, his land, and his life. The artist Aqa Mirak painted in the mature Safavid style, characterized here by large‑scale figures set close to the foreground. This style anticipates that of illustrated manuscripts and single‑figure studies of the 1540s and ’50s.
Shah Tahmasp, Iran (until 1568; gifted to Selim II); Sultan Selim II, Istanbul (from 1568); Sultan Selim III, Istanbul (by 1800); Baron Edmond de Rothschild, Paris (by 1903–d. 1934); his son, Baron Maurice de Rothschild, Paris and Pregny, near Geneva (by 1955–d. 1957); [ Stiebel Ltd., New York, until 1959; sold to Houghton]; Arthur A. Houghton Jr., New York (1959–70; gifted to MMA)
Mohl, Jules, ed. Le Livre des Rois. Vol. I. Paris, 1876. pp. 3-8.
Welch, Stuart Cary. A King's Book of Kings: the Shah-nameh of Shah Tahmasp. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1972. p. 195.
Dickson, Martin, and Stuart Cary Welch. The Houghton Shahnameh. Vol. vols. I & II. Cambridge, Mass. and London, England: Harvard University Press, 1981. vol. II, ill. pl. 211 (b/w).
Canby, Sheila R. "The Persian Book of Kings." In The Shahnama of Shah Tahmasp. Madrid, 2011. p. 231, ill. (color).
Canby, Sheila R. The Shahnama of Shah Tahmasp: The Persian Book of Kings. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2014. pp. 273, 325, ill. fol. 475r, full-page color ill. p. 273; detail p. 325.