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Silk: velvet, pile-warp substitution
Mounted: 44.5 x 26.7 cm (17 1/2 x 10 1/2 in.)
Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1944.499
These velvet fragments depict an episode from the Khamsa (Quintet) of Nizami (1141–1209), in which the lovers Khusrau and Shirin first see each other. A pre-Islamic king of Iran, Khusrau has fallen in love with Shirin after seeing her portrait and is traveling to meet her when he happens across her bathing in a stream. Not yet realizing that she is Shirin, Khusrau is transfixed by the woman’s beauty and covets both her and her magnificent black horse. The horse’s mane is just visible here, and she has placed her crown and tunic atop a branch.
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