Folio from a Shahnama (Book of kings) by Firdawsi (d.1020); verso: Rustam slays Suhrab; recto: text

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 slays Suhrab; one of a group of twenty-five folios.
Border: The text is set in gold, red and blue rulings on cream-colored paper; the painting is set in gold, red and blue rulings on paper with birds and floral motifs.

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Historical period(s)
Safavid period, circa 1590-1600
Medium
Ink, opaque watercolor and gold on paper
Dimensions
H x W: 32.4 x 20.8 cm (12 3/4 x 8 3/16 in)
Geography
Iran, Shiraz
Credit Line
Purchase — Smithsonian Unrestricted Trust Funds, Smithsonian Collections Acquisition Program, and Dr. Arthur M. Sackler
Collection
Henri Vever collection
Accession Number
S1986.259
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Manuscript
Type

Detached manuscript folio

Keywords
death, epic, Henri Vever collection, Iran, Rustam, Safavid period (1501 - 1722), Shahnama, Sohrab, WWII-era provenance
Provenance

To 1910
Reza Khan Monif, Paris, France. [1]

From 1910 to 1942
Henri Vever (1854-1942), Paris and Noyers, France, purchased from Reza Khan Monif, Paris, France on October 14, 1910. [2]

From 1942 to 1986
Family member, Paris and Boulogne, France, by inheritance from Henri Vever, Paris and Noyers, France. [3]

From 1986
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, purchased from a family member, Paris and Boulogne, France. [4]

Notes:

[1] 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. 407. See also Glen D. Lowry and Susan Nemazee, "Appendix 2: Ledger of Acquisitions, 1894 and 1907-17" in 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. 230.

[2] See note 1.

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

[4] See note 3.

Previous Owner(s)

Francois Mautin French, born 1907
Henri Vever 1854 - 1942
Reiza Khan Monif

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 slays Suhrab; one of a group of twenty-five folios.
Border: The text is set in gold, red and blue rulings on cream-colored paper; the painting is set in gold, red and blue rulings on paper with birds and floral motifs.

Label

One of the most tragic stories in the Book of Kings is that of the hero Rustam and his son, Suhrab. Firdawsi maintains that in the course of his heroic deeds in Turan, Rustam marries the beautiful Turanian princess Tahmina. Their son, Suhrab, grows up in Rustam’s absence to become a great champion of the Turanians. Never having met his legendary father, Suhrab leaves Turan in search of Rustam. When the villainous Afrasiyab, the king of the Turanians, finds out about Suhrab’s intentions, he plots a deadly confrontation between father and son, in which neither will know the other’s identity. Indeed, Rustam and Suhrab meet on the battlefield and Rustam, “swiftly drew a dagger from his belt, and tore the breast of that stout-hearted youth.” Once he discovers his victim’s identity, Rustam “wept a bloody stream and tore his hair.” The dying Suhrab consoles his father and blames the inevitability of fate for their first and final encounter.

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. 130, p. 114.
Collection Area(s)
Arts of the Islamic World
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
Rights Statement

Copyright with museum

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