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Farīdun Nails Zahhak into a Cave in the Damāwand Mountain

December 31, 1429
Mirza Firuz Shah
Shahrukh Mirza 1405–1447

Farīdun Nails Zahhak into a Cave in the Damāwand Mountain



Faridun avenges his father by dethroning Zahhak who, through Satan’s curse, has snakes growing out of his shoulders which must be fed human brain. He wants to behead him after tying him securely, but an angel appears to him and tells him to take the prisoner to the Damāwand mountain. Accompanied by a few of his men, Farīdun takes Zahhak there and nails him to the mountain. Zahhak remains there bleeding, and his name vanishes from the face of the earth. The dark grey and blue scene is set in mountainous country. Zahhak is immediately noticeable with his white beard and hair and arms held open against the dark cave. He wears only white trousers. The snakes growing out of his shoulders are twisted around his arms. Two men are driving nails into his arms and legs while a third man holds a candle. On the right, Farīdun, on his white horse, looks on with two of his men. The attendant behind him holds an umbrella over his head as a symbol of his sovereignty. When the miniature was pasted in the album, a landscape from a different period was added on three sides. These sections include dark green and brown trees, bushes, and grass on the light beige ground whereas the living colors of the main scene indicate a later (sic) period. Source: "Four Istanbul Albums and Some Fragments from Fourteenth-Century Shah-Namehs" by Nurhan Atasoy, pp. 19-48 in Ars orientalis; the arts of Islam and the East Vol. 8 (1970).


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Ismail Mazari

average rating is null out of 5

Very good information.


The Mughal Images immediately took a much greater interest in realistic portraiture than was typical of Persian miniatures. Animals and plants were the main subject of many miniatures for albums and were more realistically depicted. To upload your images click here.

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