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Opaque watercolor, gold, silver, and ink on paper; double-sided
Sheet: 29.6 x 16.2 cm (11 5/8 x 6 3/8 in.); Image: 21 x 13 cm (8 1/4 x 5 1/8 in.)
Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1947.500
Khusrau’s turban has the anachronistic baton worn by Safavid royalty and the egret feather, an emblem of nobility instituted by the Mongols in the 1200s.
The Khamsa is a collection of five narrative poems, one of which is dedicated to the romance of Khusrau Parviz (590–628), a Sasanian king of Iran, and Shirin, his beloved Armenian princess. The lovers are seated in a nocturnal landscape, indicated by the dark blue sky dotted with stars, painted with now tarnished silver. Shirin serves figs and pomegranates, symbolic of fertility, to Khusrau as attendants bring more figs and wine. Next to Shirin’s black horse, the musician at bottom right plays a tanbur, a long-necked, fretted lute.
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