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Bahram Gur Slays a Dragon (verso), from a Shahnama (Book of Kings) of Firdausi (940-1019 or 1025), known as the Great Mongol Shahnama

Bahram Gur Slays a Dragon (verso), from a Shahnama (Book of Kings) of Firdausi (940-1019 or 1025), known as the Great Mongol Shahnama

1330-35

Part of a set. See all set records

Opaque watercolor, ink, and gold on paper

Sheet: 45.8 x 34.4 cm (18 1/16 x 13 9/16 in.); Image: 19.5 x 29.5 cm (7 11/16 x 11 5/8 in.)

Grace Rainey Rogers Fund 1943.658.b

Description

In this dynamic large-format painting, Bahram Gur plunges his sword into the breast of a dragon. Iranian painting during the Mongol period borrowed stylistic and spatial elements from Chinese models, such as the rock formations, tree trunk, and dragon. The surging landscape and writhing dragon create a painting of extraordinary vitality and unity. Bahram Gur (ruled ad 420-438) was a popular king from pre-Islamic Sasanian Iran and a great hunter. He took the name "Gur," meaning onager (a wild ass), because it was his preferred game-although he also excelled at killing dragons.

See also
Collection: 
Islamic Art
Department: 
Islamic Art
Type of artwork: 
Manuscript

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