Portrait of Nushirwan the Just (verso) from a Shahnama (Book of Kings) of Firdausi (940–1019 or 1025)

Portrait of Nushirwan the Just (verso) from a Shahnama (Book of Kings) of Firdausi (940–1019 or 1025)


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Opaque watercolor, ink, and gold on paper

Sheet: 59.3 x 40.2 cm (23 3/8 x 15 13/16 in.); Image: 24 x 22 cm (9 7/16 x 8 11/16 in.)

John L. Severance Fund 1959.330.b



Mongol interest in illustrating manuscripts focused on Iranian epic poetry. The Shahnama (Book of Kings), a compilation of the epics and tales of Iran’s legendary heroes, was a natural choice because it included subjects that suited Mongol taste, such as banquets, battles, hunting, and magical or fantastic events. This large formal enthronement portrays the Sasanian king of Iran, Khusraw I Anushirwan (531–579), descendant of Bahram Gur. The inscription above the king’s head reads, "Picture of Nushirwan the Just." Nushirwan held seven banquets, this being the fifth, to celebrate the explanation of a troublesome dream by Buzurgmihr, the wise and virtuous minister who is probably portrayed wearing the elaborate turban on the left.

See also
Islamic Art
Islamic Art
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