Bahram Gur and Azada, from a Shahnama (Book of Kings) of Firdausi (940-1019 or 1025)

Bahram Gur and Azada, from a Shahnama (Book of Kings) of Firdausi (940-1019 or 1025)

1500s

Opaque watercolor and gold on paper

Sheet: 32.5 x 21.5 cm (12 13/16 x 8 7/16 in.); Image: 17.4 x 11 cm (6 7/8 x 4 5/16 in.)

Gift of the John Huntington Art and Polytechnic Trust 1915.597

Description

This image from an unfinished painting depicts one of the most popular episodes from the life of the pre-Islamic Persian king Bahram Gur (reigned AD 420–38). A famed hunter, he was challenged by his concubine, Azada, to strike a donkey through its foot and ear with a single arrow. Azada is in the upper right playing the harp on a camel. Bahram Gur successfully meets her challenge at the bottom of the page; he tossed a rock into the donkey’s ear, then fired when the animal tried to kick it loose.

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