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Rustam meets the challenge of Ashkabus, from a Shah-nama (Book of Kings) of Firdausi (Persian, about 934–1020)

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December 31, 1589
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Military
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Akbar 1556–1605

Rustam meets the challenge of Ashkabus, from a Shah-nama (Book of Kings) of Firdausi (Persian, about 934–1020)

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Rustam meets the challenge of Ashkabus, from a Shah-nama (Book of Kings) of Firdausi (Persian, about 934–1020) c. 1590-1600 Part of a set. See all set records Iran, Shiraz, Safavid Period, 16th century Opaque watercolor, ink, and gold on paper Image: 25.4 x 15.7 cm (10 x 6 3/16 in.); Overall: 31 x 20.1 cm (12 3/16 x 7 15/16 in.); Text area: 21 x 13.5 cm (8 1/4 x 5 5/16 in.) Gift of John C. Heege 1960.199 DID YOU KNOW? The enemy ruler of China sits in a howdah on the back of a white elephant. DESCRIPTION Iran was losing a battle against Turan and the armies of its assembled allies from India and China. The hero Rustam arrived to pull the Iranian army back from the brink of destruction, slaying the enemy warrior Ashkabus on foot while allowing his horse Rakhsh to rest after a long, hard journey. The vast number of armies involved in the battle is indicated by the many banners that extend beyond the illustration’s top border. This painting was probably produced at Shiraz, one of Iran’s major cultural centers, far to the south of the Safavid capital of Tabriz. Artists and works of art moved back and forth steadily between Shiraz and the Deccan in southwestern India during the 1500s and 1600s. The section of the Shah-nama on the recto is famous for the clever conversational repartee between Rustam and his opponent Ashkabus. When Ashkabus remarked that in choosing not to ride a horse Rustam had signed his own death warrant, Rustam retorted, “Would it be the case then that in your country . . . lions, tigers, and crocodiles [all] ride on horses to battle?” Rustam then brought down the horse of Ashkabus with a single arrow; his next arrow pierced Ashkabus in the chest. INSCRIPTION Script: Nasta'liq PROVENANCE (Ascheroff, Paris, France) ?-1960 John C. Heege [1904-1990], Cleveland, OH, given to the Cleveland Museum of Art 1960- The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH CITATIONS The Cleveland Museum of Art. Handbook of the Cleveland Museum of Art/1966. Cleveland, OH: The Cleveland Museum of Art, 1966. Reproduced: p. 222 archive.org The Cleveland Museum of Art. Handbook of the Cleveland Museum of Art/1969. Cleveland, OH: The Cleveland Museum of Art, 1969. Reproduced: p. 222 archive.org The Cleveland Museum of Art. Handbook of the Cleveland Museum of Art/1978. Cleveland, OH: The Cleveland Museum of Art, 1978. Reproduced: p. 279 archive.org EXHIBITION HISTORY Year in Review (1961). The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH (organizer) (November 1-26, 1961). Art and Stories from Mughal India. The Cleveland Museum of Art (organizer) (July 31-October 23, 2016).

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Ismail Mazari

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Very good information.

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