"Zal in the Simurgh's Nest", Folio from a Shahnama (Book of Kings)

Author Abu'l Qasim Firdausi Iranian

Not on view

Left in the wilderness as a baby because his father Sam thought his white hair was an attribute of the devil, Zal was rescued by the Simurgh and taken to her nest on Mt. Elburz. Rumors eventually reached Sam, who came to reclaim his son and to thank the great bird. In spite of the damage to the lower right hand portion of this stepped composition, the painting is striking, with the youth crouched in his mountain home talking to his foster mother while his repentant father bows to the ground in homage and gratitude to the Simurgh. The hares in the composition emphasize the remoteness of the setting. Here, the Simurgh has not yet taken the pictorial form of the Chinese phoenix as it had by this time in the more prominent artistic centers.

"Zal in the Simurgh's Nest", Folio from a Shahnama (Book of Kings), Abu'l Qasim Firdausi (Iranian, Paj ca. 940/41–1020 Tus), Ink, opaque watercolor, gold, and silver on paper

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