Aug 13, 2020
Aug 13, 2020

Rustam Takes Aim at Ashkabus, from a Shah-nama (Book of Kings)

Rustam Takes Aim at Ashkabus, from a Shah-nama (Book of Kings)

c. 1425–50

Gum tempera and ink on paper

Folio: 31.8 x 25.6 cm (12 1/2 x 10 1/16 in.); Painting: 13.7 x 20.5 cm (5 3/8 x 8 1/16 in.)

Severance and Greta Millikin Purchase Fund 2020.204

Did you know?

In the upside-down inscription in the top margin: The Heavens cried, “Excellent!” and the Moon said “Well Done!”


The central warrior is Iran’s mythic hero Rustam, who approached an enemy army on foot, aiming to shoot the general off his mount. This page is from the oldest surviving illustrated Islamic manuscript made in India. The painting is by a local artist working for a Sultanate patron in India who admired Persian literature and emulated the erudite court culture of Iran.

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