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Opaque watercolor, gold, and silver on paper
Image: 26.3 x 20.7 cm (10 3/8 x 8 1/8 in.); Overall: 32.5 x 22.1 cm (12 13/16 x 8 11/16 in.)
Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1945.169.b
The painting on the verso of this folio is the first half of a double-page frontispiece now detached from a Shahnama (Book of Kings) manuscript. CMA 1956.10 is the left half of the frontispiece.
As though setting the scene for royal stories and activities, these two opening pages of Iran’s national epic present a luxurious gathering in an idyllic outdoor setting. Groups of nobles and international diplomats have come bearing gifts, including costly vessels and hunting animals.
At the upper right, seemingly uninterested in the emissaries and gifts, a prince kneels with six royal women under an open tent. He pulls one of them toward him, apparently to coax her to drink a cup of wine. At the bottom a musician plays a harp that has been mounted over a stream, painted with now tarnished silver paint. Drama and intrigue seem to be brewing, given the knowing glances and whispers between figures.
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