"The Four Knights of Kai Khusrau in the Mountains", Folio from a Shahnama (Book of Kings)

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

Calligrapher: Hasan ibn Muhammad ibn `Ali ibn (?) Husaini, known as al-Mausili

Patron: Commissioned by al-Hasan Qawam al-Daula wa'l-Din (ca. 1303–57)

Object Name: Folio from an illustrated manuscript

Date: A.H. 741/A.D. 1341

Geography: Made in Iran, Shiraz

Medium: Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper

Dimensions: Page: H. 14 1/2 in. (36.8 cm)
W. 11 5/16 in. (28.7 cm)
Painting: H. 6 3/8 in. (16.2 cm)
W. 9 5/16 in. (23.6 cm)
Mat: H. 22 in. (55.9 cm)
W. 16 in. (40.6 cm)

Classification: Codices

Credit Line: Rogers Fund, 1936

Accession Number: 36.113.2


The shah Kai Khusrau went to the mountains and disappeared in the snow. When his paladins realized what happened, they set off to look for him, but they were caught in a snowstorm while asleep and they all perished. The illustration shows the typical traits of Injuid (1325–53) composition, with oversize figures against a mountainous landscape with pointed peaks. Another distinctive feature is the device of battle standards thrust into the upper margin of the page across the text to create a sense of expansive space.