Isfandiyar slays Arjasp, the king of Turan, from a Shah-nama (Book of Kings) of Firdausi (Persian, about 934–1020)

Isfandiyar slays Arjasp, the king of Turan, from a Shah-nama (Book of Kings) of Firdausi (Persian, about 934–1020)


Haidar Kashmiri

(Indian, active late 1500s-early 1600s)

Opaque watercolor, gold, and ink on paper, text on verso

Page: 36.7 x 24.4 cm (14 7/16 x 9 5/8 in.)

Gift in honor of Madeline Neves Clapp; Gift of Mrs. Henry White Cannon by exchange; Bequest of Louise T. Cooper; Leonard C. Hanna Jr. Fund; From the Catherine and Ralph Benkaim Collection 2013.314


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Wine spilling from a porcelain bottle heightens the action of the moment.


This illustrated scene occurs early in the narrative of Isfandiyar, who is destined to serve as king of Iran with Rustam as his champion. The episode describes Isfandiyar’s quest for vengeance against the tyrant Arjasp of Turan, who had defeated his father in battle and taken his sisters captive. Isfandiyar disguised himself as a merchant, entered Arjasp’s fort, and then fought his way to the enemy king, whom he defeated in battle. The artist has included beautiful and delicate details of the garden and architectural setting of this gruesome scene. An onlooker below puts his finger to his mouth in a gesture of astonishment.

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