"The Besotted Iranian Camp Attacked by Night", Folio 241r from the Shahnama (Book of Kings) of Shah Tahmasp

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

Artist: Painting attributed to Qadimi (active ca. 1525–65)

Object Name: Folio from an illustrated manuscript

Date: ca. 1525–30

Geography: Made in Iran, Tabriz

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

Dimensions: Painting: H. 11 1/8 x W. 9 1/8 in. (H. 28.2 x W. 23.2 cm)
Entire Page: H. 18 11/16 x W. 12 5/8 in. (H. 47.5 x W. 32.1 cm)

Classification: Codices

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

Accession Number: 1970.301.36


Following a rout at the hands of the Iranians, the army of Turan regrouped and planned its attack. Before the battle could begin, the Turanians learned that the whole Iranian army was in its cups, drunkenly celebrating its victory. Taking the Iranians by surprise, the Turanians attacked their encampment, slaughtering the besotted soldiers as the few survivors fled in disarray. The artist Qadimi has captured the chaos of the melee with Iranians trapped amidst tents and terrified horses as the Turanians attack them with swords, daggers, and spears.