"The Angel Surush Rescues Khusrau Parviz from a Cul-de-sac", Folio 708v from the Shahnama (Book of Kings) of Shah Tahmasp
Abu'l Qasim Firdausi (935–1020)
Painting attributed to Bashdan Qara (active ca. 1525–35)
Folio from an illustrated manuscript
Opaque watercolor, ink, silver, and gold on paper
Painting: H. 13 1/2 in. (34.3 cm)
W. 11 in. (27.9 cm)
Page: H. 18 5/8 in. (47.3 cm)
W. 12 3/8 in. (31.4 cm)
Mat: H. 22 in. (55.9 cm)
W. 16 in. (40.6 cm)
Gift of Arthur A. Houghton Jr., 1970
Not on view
Pursued by the potential usurper Bahram Chubina, Shah Khusrau Parviz fled up a narrow gorge. Reaching an impasse, Khusrau prayed to God for help, and instantly the angel Surush appeared and whisked him to safety. The painting is attributed to Muzaffar 'Ali, a leading artist of the younger generation and great-nephew of the renowned painter Bihzad. In keeping with his other compositions, the elements appear to fly apart, with rocks jutting in every direction. His brushwork is somewhat painterly, consisting of layers of pale hues rather than the customary technique of painting with richly saturated colors.
Inscription: In Nasat’liq script-- verses from the Shāhnma of Ferdowsī , پادشاهي خسرو پرویز (story of rule of Khusrau Parviz)
(Abu’l-Qasim Ferdowsi,The Shāhnāmeh (The book of kings), ed, Djalal Khalqi- Muṭlagh, Mazda publishers in association with Bibliotheca Persica, Costa Mesa, New York, 2008, vol.8, p.144-145).
Shah Tahmasp, Iran (until 1568; gifted to Selim II); Sultan Selim II, Istanbul (from 1568); Sultan Selim III, Istanbul (by 1800); Baron Edmond de Rothschild, Paris (by 1903–d. 1934); his son, Baron Maurice de Rothschild, Paris and Pregny, near Geneva (by 1955–d. 1957); [ Stiebel Ltd., New York, until 1959; sold to Houghton]; Arthur A. Houghton Jr., New York (1959–70; gifted to MMA)
Welch, Stuart Cary. A King's Book of Kings: the Shah-nameh of Shah Tahmasp. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1972. p. 197.
Dickson, Martin, and Stuart Cary Welch. The Houghton Shahnameh. Vol. vols. I & II. Cambridge, Mass. and London, England: Harvard University Press, 1981. vol. II, ill. pl. 255 (b/w).
Swietochowski, Marie, and Richard Ettinghausen. "Islamic Painting." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin vol. 36, no. 2 (Autumn 1978). p. 26, ill. p. 26 (color).
Canby, Sheila R. "The Persian Book of Kings." In The Shahnama of Shah Tahmasp. Madrid, 2011. p. 275, ill. (color).
Canby, Sheila R. "The Persian Book of Kings." In The Shahnama of Shah Tahmasp. New York, 2014. pp. 317, 324, ill. fol. 708v, full-page ill. p. 317; detail p. 324.
Ekhtiar, Maryam, Sheila R. Canby, Navina Haidar, and Priscilla P. Soucek, ed. Masterpieces from the Department of Islamic Art in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1st ed. ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2011. no. 138F, pp. 7, 202-208, ill. p. 206 (color).