"Three Men Before a Castle", Folio from a Khavarannama (The Book of the East) of ibn Husam al-Din

Author: Maulana Muhammad Ibn Husam ad Din (Persian, died 1470)

Object Name: Folio from an illustrated manuscript

Date: ca. 1476–86

Geography: Attributed to Iran, Shiraz

Medium: Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper

Dimensions: 15 11/16 x 11 3/8in. (39.8 x 28.9cm)

Classification: Codices

Credit Line: Rogers Fund, 1955

Accession Number: 55.184.1


The Khavarannama, written in 1426–27 by Maulana Muhammad ibn Husam (d. 1470), chronicles the military exploits of 'Ali, cousin and son-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad, and his partisans. It is one of several Persian epic poems that imitates the Shahnama, or Book of Kings. The author's debt to Firdausi is acknowledged especially in this painting, in which the great poet himself, holding a walking stick, gestures to ibn Husam. The painting, with its stocky, round-headed figures, is in the commercial Turkman style of Shiraz. The title of the manuscript derives from the name of 'Ali's main adversary, the king of Khavaran.