"Zal delivers Sam's letter to Manuchihr", Folio from a Shahnama (Book of Kings) of Firdausi, Abu'l Qasim Firdausi (935–1020), Ink, opaque watercolor, gold, and silver on paper

"Zal delivers Sam's letter to Manuchihr", Folio from a Shahnama (Book of Kings) of Firdausi

Abu'l Qasim Firdausi (935–1020)
Object Name:
Folio from an illustrated manuscript
ca. 1330–40
Attributed to Iran, probably Isfahan
Ink, opaque watercolor, gold, and silver on paper
Painting: H. 2 1/2 in. (6.4 cm)
W. 4 5/16 in. (11 cm)
Page: H. 8 in. (20.3 cm)
W. 5 3/16 in. (13.2 cm)
Mat: H. 19 1/4 in. (48.9 cm)
W. 14 1/4 in. (36.2 cm)
Credit Line:
Bequest of Monroe C. Gutman, 1974
Accession Number:
Not on view
This episode in the complex and momentous love affair of the young hero Zal and the princess Rudaba is presented as a standard court scene. Zal bows in front of the shah after he delivers Sam's letter which tries to persuade him that the marriage would be in his interest. The shah is surrounded by guardians and courtiers, members of the military elite, and his vizier, who wears a turban signifying that he is part of the bureaucracy.
Ph. Walter Schulz, Leipzig, Germany (by 1914); Professor O. Moll, Düsseldorf, Germany ; Monroe C. Gutman, New York (by 1929–d. 1974; bequeathed to MMA)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Illustrated Poetry and Epic Images: Persian Painting of the 1330s and 1340s," February 1, 1994–May 1, 1994, no. 9.

Swietochowski, Marie, and Marilyn Jenkins-Madina. Notable Acquisitions 1965–1975 (1975). p. 135, ill. (b/w), 1974.290.1-43.

Swietochowski, Marie, and Richard Ettinghausen. "Islamic Painting." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, n.s., vol. 36, no. 2 (Autumn 1978). pp. 10-11, ill. p. 11 (color).

Masuya, Tomoko. "The Condition of the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Small Shahnama and the Reconstruction of its Text." In Poetry and Epic Images, edited by Marie Lukens Swietochowski, and Stefano Carboni. New York, 1994. pp. 129-145.

Swietochowski, Marie, Stefano Carboni, Tomoko Masuya, and Alexander H. Morton. Illustrated Poetry and Epic Images:Persian Painting of the 1330s and 1340s. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1994. no. 9, p. 84, ill. pl. 9 (color).