Folio from a Shahnama (Book of kings) by Firdawsi (d. 1020); Rustam and Isfandiyar in combat

citation

Detached folio from a dispersed copy of the Shahnama (Book of kings) by Firdawsi, text: Persian in black nasta’liq script; recto: text, four columns, twenty-five lines; verso: illustration and text, Rustam and Isfandiyar in combat; one of a group of five folios.
Border: The text and the painting are set in gold and black rulings on cream-colored paper.

View right to left

Historical period(s)
Timurid period, ca.1440
Medium
Ink, opaque watercolor and gold on paper
Dimensions
H x W (overall): 32.4 x 23.3 cm (12 3/4 x 9 3/16 in)
Geography
Iran
Credit Line
Purchase — Smithsonian Unrestricted Trust Funds, Smithsonian Collections Acquisition Program, and Dr. Arthur M. Sackler
Collection
Henri Vever collection
Accession Number
S1986.151
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Manuscript
Type

Detached manuscript folio

Keywords
battle, Henri Vever collection, Iran, Isfandiyar, Rustam, Shahnama, Timurid period (1378 - 1506), WWII-era provenance
Provenance

To at least 1931
Octave Homberg, Paris, France. [1]

1931
Sale, Paris, Galerie Georges Petit, Collection de Octave Homberg, 3-5 June, 1931, no. 104. [2]

To 1935
Emile Tabbagh, Paris, France. [3]

1935
Sale, Paris, Hôtel Drouot, Collection de Monsieur Emile Tabbagh, May 20-21, 1935, no. 156. [4]

From 1935 to 1942
Henri Vever (1854-1942), Paris and Noyers, France, purchased at the Sale, Paris, Hôtel Drouot, Collection de Monsieur Emile Tabbagh, May 21, 1935. [5]

From 1942 to 1986
Family member, Paris and Boulogne, France, by inheritance from Henri Vever, Paris and Noyers, France. [6]

From 1986
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, purchased from a family member, Paris and Boulogne, France. [7]

Notes:

[1] The object was in the collection of Octave Homberg until June 1931. See Susan Nemazee, "Appendix 7: Chart of Recent Provenance" in An Annotated and Illustrated Checklist of the Vever Collection, Glenn D. Lowry et al (Washington, D.C.: Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; Seattle and London: University of Washington Press, 1988), p. 404.

[2] See note 1. See also auction catalogue from Galerie Georges Petit, Catalogue des tableaux anciens, objets d'art et de haute curiosité européens et orientaux, objets d'extrême-Orient, meubles et sièges, sculptures et bronzes du XVIIIe siècle, composant la collection de Octave Homberg, no. 104, p. 52, pl. XLVII.

[3] The object was in the collection of Emile Tabbagh of New York and Paris, France by 1935 when it was published in the auction catalogue, Collection de M. Emile Tabbagh: Art Oriental. Paris, May 20-21, 1935. See Susan Nemazee, "Appendix 7: Chart of Recent Provenance" in An Annotated and Illustrated Checklist of the Vever Collection, Glenn D. Lowry et al (Washington, D.C.: Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; Seattle and London: University of Washington Press, 1988), p. 404.

[4] See note 3.

[5] See note 3. See also Glenn D. Lowry and Susan Nemazee, A Jeweler's Eye: Islamic Arts of the Book from the Vever Collection (Washington, D.C.: Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; Seattle and London: University of Washington Press, 1988), p. 35.

[6] See the Agreement for the Purchase and Sale of the Henri Vever Collection of January 9, 1986, Collections Management Office.

[7] See note 6.

Previous Owner(s)

Francois Mautin French, born 1907
Henri Vever 1854 - 1942
Galerie Georges Petit 1846 - 1933
Octave Homberg
Emile Tabbagh
Hotel Drouot

Description

Detached folio from a dispersed copy of the Shahnama (Book of kings) by Firdawsi, text: Persian in black nasta'liq script; recto: text, four columns, twenty-five lines; verso: illustration and text, Rustam and Isfandiyar in combat; one of a group of five folios.
Border: The text and the painting are set in gold and black rulings on cream-colored paper.

Marking(s)

Stamps: R. Charpentier, framer; No. 2289, black ink; 104, square (Homberg sale)

Label

The composition is characteristic of paintings that flourished in the 1440s under Prince Ibrahim Sultan (reigned 1414-34), Timur's grandson, in Shiraz. Although the figures are schematized, their expressiveness lends a distinct sense of excitement and drama to the paintings. The illustrations depict two different moments in the Shahnama (Book of kings) and underscore epic concepts, such heroism, pride, and the inevitability of human fate. One represents a battle between the heroes Rustam and Isfandiyar, which eventually leads to Isfandiyar's death, while the other portrays a mother's response to her son's death. For the Timurids, whose military and political authority depended largely on tribal loyalty and allegiances, such stories must have carried particular relevance.

Published References
  • Glenn D. Lowry, Milo Cleveland Beach, Elisabeth West FitzHugh, Susan Nemanzee, Janet Snyder. An Annotated and Illustrated Checklist of the Vever Collection. Washington and Seattle. cat. 98, p. 84-85.
  • Homberg. to be determined. cat. 104, p. 52, pl. XLVII.
  • Tabbagh Frères. to be determined. cat. 156, p. 25.
Collection Area(s)
Arts of the Islamic World
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
Rights Statement

Copyright with museum

Related Objects