Nushirwan Listens to the Owls (recto): Illustration and Text, Persian Verses, from a Manuscript of the Khamsa of Nizami, Makhzan al-Asrar [Treasure of Secrets]

Nushirwan Listens to the Owls (recto): Illustration and Text, Persian Verses, from a Manuscript of the Khamsa of Nizami, Makhzan al-Asrar [Treasure of Secrets]

1555-65

Part of a set. See all set records

Opaque watercolor, ink, and gold on paper

Sheet: 32.7 x 21.8 cm (12 7/8 x 8 9/16 in.); Image: 20.3 x 12.7 cm (8 x 5 in.)

Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1944.487.a

Description

This scene is from the Makhzan al-Ashrar, the first of the Quintet. Although more historically oriented than the following poems, it served more as a vehicle for moralizing tales than for historical events. In this scene Nushirwan asks the sage Buzurgmihr to explain what the owls perched on a ruined building are saying. He explains that one owl is offering the other as many ruined cities as he likes in exchange for his daughter's hand. He thus reproves Nushirwan for his love of conquest and war and the consequent destruction of many cities.

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