Author: Nizami (Ilyas Abu Muhammad Nizam al-Din of Ganja) (probably 1141–1217)
Calligrapher: Sultan Muhammad Nur (ca. 1472–ca. 1536)
Calligrapher: Mahmud Muzahhib
Artist: Painting by Shaikh Zada
Object Name: Folio from an illustrated manuscript
Date: dated A.H. 931/A.D. 1524–25
Geography: Made in present-day Afghanistan, Herat
Medium: Ink, opaque watercolor, silver, and gold on paper
Dimensions: Image 4 7/8 in x 7 7/8 in.
Page 8 3/4 in. x 12 11/16 in.
Mat 14 1/14 in. x 19 1/4 in.
Credit Line: Gift of Alexander Smith Cochran, 1913
Accession Number: 126.96.36.199
The fourth of the late twelfth-century Persian poet Nizami's five epic poems, later combined to form the famous Khamsa (Quintet), was the Haft Paikar, or Seven Portraits, so named from one incident in the story. It recounts the legendary history of the Sasanian king Bahram Gur, who is idealized as a great lover and hunter. The story is known also as the Seven Princesses because Bahram Gur, so the story goes, married seven beautiful princesses from the seven regions of the world, and visited each in her own pavilion on successive nights of the week. In this highly sensual but moralistic work, each princess tells a story and there are additional stories within these.