"The Feast of Sada", Folio 22v from the Shahnama (Book of Kings) of Shah Tahmasp

Author: Abu'l Qasim Firdausi (935–1020)

Artist: Painting attributed to Sultan Muhammad (active first half 16th century)

Object Name: Folio from an illustrated manuscript

Date: ca. 1525

Geography: Made in Iran, Tabriz

Medium: Opaque watercolor, ink, silver, and gold on paper

Dimensions: Painting: H. 9 1/2 in. (24.1 cm)
W. 9 1/16 in. (23 cm)
Page: H. 18 1/2 in. (47 cm)
W.12 1/2 in. (31.8 cm)
Mat: H. 22 in. (55.9 cm)
W. 16 in. (40.6 cm)

Classification: Codices

Credit Line: Gift of Arthur A. Houghton Jr., 1970

Accession Number: 1970.301.2


In the reign of Hushang, grandson of Gayumars, the world came to understand the usefulness of minerals and the arts of smithery, agriculture, and irrigation. One day, Hushang spied a dragon lurking behind the rocks. He hurled a stone at it, which missed the monster but hit a larger rock, causing sparks to fly. Realizing the significance of this phenomenon, Hushang built a large fire and held a feast to celebrate its discovery. The witty yet benevolent depictions of people and animals characterize the liveliest of Sultan Muhammad’s creations. Also typical of his style is the oval composition with mountains rising into the margins of the page.