"Isfandiyar's Third Course: He Slays a Dragon", Folio from a Shahnama (Book of Kings)

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

Object Name: Folio from an illustrated manuscript

Date: ca. 1330–40

Geography: Attributed to Iran, probably Isfahan

Medium: Ink, opaque watercolor, gold, and silver on paper

Dimensions: Page: 8 1/8 x 5 1/4 in. (20.6 x 13.4 cm)
Painting: 1 5/8 x 4 3/16 in. (4.2 x 10.6 cm)

Classification: Codices

Credit Line: Bequest of Monroe C. Gutman, 1974

Accession Number: 1974.290.26


The painting, showing Isfandiyar about to kill a dragon with bow and arrow in a conventional man-against-beast pose, depicts the last part of this episode in which the hero first weakens the animal with swords sticking out of a carriage he had built. It is a true fusion of influences: the mountain peaks and red background point to Injuid painting, while the composition and twisted body of the dragon owe much to Ilkhanid models.