"Isfandiyar's Second Course: He Slays the Lions", Folio from a Shahnama (Book of Kings)
Abu'l Qasim Firdausi (935–1020)
Folio from an illustrated manuscript
Attributed to Iran, probably Isfahan
Ink, opaque watercolor, gold, and silver on paper
Page: 8 1/8 x 5 1/4 in. (20.6 x 13.4 cm) Painting: 1 7/8 x 4 5/16 in. (4.8 x 10.9 cm)
Bequest of Monroe C. Gutman, 1974
Not on view
The story of Isfandiyar's encounter with the lions is less frequently depicted than most of the other six dangerous "courses". This absence of a strong illustrative tradition allowed the artist more freedom in his rendering of the scene. The most striking aspect of this miniature is the sympathetic yet naturalistic treatment of the wild animals - challenging, noble, and vibrant beasts in life and thus all the more pathetic in death.
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. 31.
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. 31, pp. 72, 108-109, ill. p. 108 (b/w).