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Opaque watercolor, ink, gold, and silver on paper
Overall: 32.7 x 22 cm (12 7/8 x 8 11/16 in.); Image: 26.1 x 20.7 cm (10 1/4 x 8 1/8 in.)
John L. Severance Fund 1956.10.a
The painting on this folio is the first half of a double-page frontispiece now detached from a Shahnama (Book of Kings) manuscript. CMA 1956.10 is the left half of the frontispiece.
The royal feast is set in a green landscape dotted with flowers and blossoming bushes against a gold sky with wisps of blue and white clouds. The group of figures in the upper left includes a falconer, horses, attendants, and two hunting cheetahs, while servers transport food and drink in gold and ceramic vessels, some presumably Chinese blue and white porcelain. Possibly this banquet was offered after a courtly hunt, a prestigious symbol of power and wealth. Among the groups of men sitting on elaborate carpets are three Chinese officials, identifiable by their black hats, kneeling together on the ground. Although their presence indicates the presence of foreign cultures within the Timurid court, the painting also reveals that not all are welcome to the feast; in the bottom half of the page a guard wields a stick to drive a group of men out of the garden.
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