Bahram Gur Arrives at the House of a Merchant, text page (recto); 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 Arrives at the House of a Merchant, text page (recto); 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.)

Grace Rainey Rogers Fund 1943.658

Description

In this intense painting, Bahram Gur plunges his sword into the breast of a dragon. A favorite character from Iran's pre-Islamic history, Bahram Gur (reigned 420–38) was a popular ruler of the Sassanian dynasty 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. As evidenced by this illustration's rock formations, tree trunk, and dragon, Iranian painting in the Mongol period borrowed numerous stylistic and spatial elements from Chinese models. With the surging landscape and writhing dragon rendered with equal energy, this is a picture of extraordinary unity and concentration.

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

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