"The Assassination of Khusrau Parviz", Folio 742v from the Shahnama (Book of Kings) of Shah Tahmasp
Abu'l Qasim Firdausi (935–1020)
Painting attributed to 'Abd al-Samad (Iranian, Shiraz ca. 1505/15–ca. 1600 )
Folio from an illustrated manuscript
Opaque watercolor, ink, silver, and gold on paper
Painting: Ht. 11 3/16 in. (28.4 cm)
W. 10 3/4 in. (27.3 cm)
Page: Ht. 18 1/2 in. (47 cm)
W.12 1/2 in. (31.8 cm)
Mat: Ht. 22 in. (55.9 cm)
W. 16 in. (40.6 cm)
Frame: Ht. 23 in. (58.4 cm)
W. 17 in. (43.2 cm)
Gift of Arthur A. Houghton Jr., 1970
Not on view
After many years of honest rule, Khusrau Parviz became unjust and his chiefs plotted to overthrow him. The conspirators placed his eldest son, Shuriya, on the throne and imprisoned Khusrau with his beloved Shirin. However, the power of the deposed shah was still feared and Shuriya’s advisors pressed him to order his father’s assassination. A foulsmelling killer was found and soon he entered Khusrau’s chamber and stabbed him through the heart. This work is one of the few by the young artist 'Abd al-Samad, who left for India in the 1540s and was instrumental in founding the Mughal school of painting.
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)
Mohl, Jules, ed. Le Livre des Rois. Vol. I. Paris, 1876. pp. 318-321.
Welch, Stuart Cary. A King's Book of Kings: the Shah-nameh of Shah Tahmasp. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1972. pp. 184-187, ill. pp. 185-187, 742v (color, b/w).
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. 260 (b/w).
Welch, Stuart Cary, Sheila R. Canby, and Norah M. Titley. "Masterpieces of Early Safavid Painting, 1501–1576." In Wonders of the Age. Cambridge, MA: Fogg Museum, Harvard Art Museums, 1979. no. 39, pp. 116-117, ill. p. 117 (b/w).
Canby, Sheila R. "The Persian Book of Kings." In The Shahnama of Shah Tahmasp. Madrid, 2011. p. 280, (color).
Canby, Sheila R. "The Persian Book of Kings." In The Shahnama of Shah Tahmasp. New York, 2014. pp. 322, 330, ill. fol. 742v, full-page color ill. p. 322; detail p. 330.
Melikian-Chirvani, Assadullah. "L'Art de l'Iran Safavide 1501–1736." In Le Chant du Monde. Paris: Musée du Louvre, 2007. no. 27, pp. 198-199, ill. p. 199 (color).
Seyller, John, Thackston M. Wheeler, Ebba Koch, Antoinette Owen, and Rainald Franz. The Adventures of Hamza. Washington, D.C.; London: Azimuth Editions, 2002. no. 2, pp. 54, 55, ill. (color).
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. 138G, pp. 7, 202-208, ill. p. 207 (color).