In this miniature the artist has faithfully rendered the scene as described in the poem. When Kai Khusrau mounted the throne of Iran all the lords and princes came to pay homage to him. When the young shah saw the great hero Rustam, who had reared his murdered father Siyavush, he wept and descended from his throne to greet him while Rustam kissed the ground before the shah, as was the custom.
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Title:"Rustam Comes from Kabul to Pay Homage to Kai Khusrau", Folio from a Shahnama (Book of Kings) of Firdausi
Author:Abu'l Qasim Firdausi (Iranian, Paj ca. 940/41–1020 Tus)
Geography:Attributed to Iran, probably Isfahan
Medium:Ink, opaque watercolor, gold, and silver on paper
Dimensions:Page: H. 8 1/16 in. (20.5 cm) W. 5 1/4 in. (13.3 cm) Painting: H. 1 15/16 in. (4.9 cm) W. 4 1/4 in. (10.8 cm)
Credit Line:Bequest of Monroe C. Gutman, 1974
Rustam Comes from Kabul to Pay Homage to Kai Khusrau
Rustam, his father Zal, and his son Faramarz come from Kabul to pay homage to the newly enthroned Kai Khusrau. Rustam kisses the ground before the shah, who descends from the throne to greet the hero who had reared his father, Siyavush. In the miniature the empty throne is placed at the right, with the usual two guardians standing behind it, while Kai Khusrau hovers over the prostate Rustam, exactly as described in the epic poem. If the figure behind Rustam represents his father, Zal, he is not shown with white hair. The blue ground with the gold dots and the outsized flowering plant behind Rustam's head are elements adopted in later Indian painting. Here, again, the artist seems to have devised his own composition based on the most striking description in the poem—the first meeting of hero and monarch.
While this episode is listed for the First Small Shahnama leaf in the Chester Beatty Library catalogue but is not illustrated, the description implies that Rustam, Zal, and the other paladins are standing before the throne, and so it would appear that the composition here is in no way modeled on the earlier one. In the Freer Small Shahnama there is an illustration recorded by one scholar as "Zal and Rustam Greet Kai Khusrau" and by another as "Kai Khusrau Swears to Take Vengeance on Afrasiyab"—an event slightly later in the narrative. In any case the description of the composition (see note 1) seems as unrelated to this painting as to that of the First Small Shahnama.
Mary Lukens Swietochowski in [Swietochowski and Carboni 1994]
1. A.J. Arberry, M. Minovi, and E. Blochet, The Chester Beatty Library: A Catalogue of the Persian Manuscripts and Miniatures. J. V. S. Wilkinson, Dublin, vol. I, 1959, no. 104 (16), p. 13.
2. Simpson, M. S., The Illustration of an Epic; The Earliest Shahnama Manuscripts. New York, 1979, p. 355, not illustrated.
3. A. Welch, Collection of Islamic Art: Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan. Geneva, 1972, IR M. 2/B, p. 57, not illustrated. The author writes, "The hierarchical arrangement of the figures around the throne recalls the spatial arrangements on Sasanian silver."
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 Hagop Kevorkian Special Exhibitions Gallery, The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Illustrated Poetry and Epic Images: Persian Painting of the 1330s and 1340s," February 1–May 1, 1994, no. 17.
Schulz, Ph. Walter. Die Persisch-Islamische Miniaturmalerei. Vol. vols. I, II. Leipzig: Hiersemann, 1914. vol. 1, pp. 74–75, ill. vol. 2, pl. 18.
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. 129–45.
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. 17, pp. 92–93, ill. (color).
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