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Rustam's seventh course: He kills the White Div, folio 124 from a Shah-nama (Book of Kings) of Firdausi (Persian, about 934-1020)

December 31, 1519
Ulugh Beg II 1507–1526

Rustam's seventh course: He kills the White Div, folio 124 from a Shah-nama (Book of Kings) of Firdausi (Persian, about 934-1020)



Rustam's seventh course: He kills the White Div, folio 124 from a Shah-nama (Book of Kings) of Firdausi (Persian, about 934-1020) 1520-40 Part of a set. See all set records attributed to Mir Musavvir (Iranian, c. 1510-1555) attributed to Abd al-Vahhab (Persian, active c. 1516) Iran, Tabriz, Safavid Period, 16th century Opaque watercolor, ink, gold, and silver on paper Sheet: 47.5 x 32.2 cm (18 11/16 x 12 11/16 in.); Image: 28.4 x 18.5 cm (11 3/16 x 7 5/16 in.) Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. Fund 1988.96 DID YOU KNOW? The Shahnameh is a mixture of a mythology and a history of the Iranian people. DESCRIPTION This spectacular painting, both lyrical and fierce, comes from one of the greatest Iranian manuscripts ever produced. The royal copy of the national Iranian epic, the Shahnama, or Book of Kings, was made for Shah Tahmasp during the 1520s and 1540s. The book was even acclaimed in its own day for "the coloring and the portraiture" found in its 258 paintings. The legendary hero Rustam, identified by his tiger-skin clothing, kills the savage chief of the demons, the White Div, in an immense cave, as other demons watch from above. Completing this last of seven trials, Rustam uses the White Div's blood to cure the Iranian king Kay Kavus of his blindness. The painting is set in a spectacular spring landscape with blossoming trees and brilliantly colored rocks that bend like spectators: They wrestled, tearing out each other's flesh, Till all the ground was puddled with their blood... [Rustam] reached out, clutched the Div, raised him neck-high, And dashed the life-breath from him on the ground, Then with a dagger stabbed him to the heart And plucked the liver from his swarthy form: The carcass filled the cave, and all the world Was like a sea of blood... INSCRIPTION Script: Nasta'liq PROVENANCE 1520s-1567 Shah Tahmasp شاه تهماسب یکم‎ [1514-1576], Iran, given to Ottoman Sultan Selim II 1567-? Ottoman Sultan Selim II [1524-1574], Istanbul, Ottoman Empire until early 1900s Topkapı Palace library, Istanbul, Ottoman Empire early 1900s-? Baron Edmond de Rothschild [1845–1934], Boulogne-Billancourt, France ?-October 14, 1988 Arthur A. Houghton, Jr. [1906-1990] 1 October 14, 1988 (Christie's, London, UK, sold to the Cleveland Museum of Art) 1988- The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH PROVENANCE FOOTNOTES 1 Arthur Amory Houghton Jr. was an American industrialist who served as the president of Steuben Glass Works, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the New York Philharmonic. PROVENANCE CITATIONS Reif, Rita. "Auctions." The New York Times. 29 July 1988. CITATIONS McWilliams, Mary. ""Rustam's Seventh Course: He Slays the White Div": A Painting from the Tahmasp "Shahnama"." The Bulletin of the Cleveland Museum of Art 80, no. 4 (1993): 148-53. Reproduced: p. 150; Mentioned: p. 148-53 Franklin, David and C. Griffith Mann. Treasures from the Cleveland Museum of Art. Cleveland, OH: Cleveland Museum of Art, 2012. Reproduced: pp. 166-167 EXHIBITION HISTORY Main Gallery Rotation (gallery 116). The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH (December 16, 2013-December 15, 2014). The Year in Review for 1988. The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH (organizer) (March 1-May 14, 1989). Art and Stories from Mughal India. The Cleveland Museum of Art (organizer) (July 31-October 23, 2016).

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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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