"Tahmuras Defeats the Divs", Folio 23v 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. 11 1/8 (28.3 cm)
W. 7 5/16 in. (18.6 cm)
Entire Page: H. 18 1/2 in. (47 cm)
W. 12 5/8 in. (32.1 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: 1970.301.3


Tahmuras, shown here galloping across a meadow, defeated the divs (demons); in exchange for their lives, they taught him the art of writing. This work is attributed to Sultan Muhammad, the master painter and chief administrator of the first generation of artists of this manuscript. The humor of the divs’ ghastly faces and gestures and the painterly treatment of their spotty skin are typical of Sultan Muhammad’s style.