The Iranians Mourn the Death of Farud and Jarira: From the Shahnama (Book of Kings) of Shah Tahmasp, ca. 1525–30
Attributed to Mirza Muhammad Qabahat
Colors, ink, silver, and gold on paper; 18 5/8 x 12 1/2 in. (47.3 x 31.8 cm)
Gift of Arthur A. Houghton Jr., 1970 (1970.301.35)
The Shahnama is filled with tragic events and moments of intense drama. On the page illustrated here, the painters have depicted the mourning of Iranians over the tragic destiny of Farud, the son of Prince Siyavush, and Jarira, his mother. After witnessing her son's death, Jarira ripped open her belly with a dagger. Then, lying down with her face against Farud's, she let herself die.
The scene is one of the most emotionally charged in the entire manuscript. The women pull out their hair and cry, the courtiers beat their heads in despair, while the the creased expressions on their faces convey intense compassion. Even though Islamic painting is considered to be idealized, the painters of this Shahnama reveal instead a profound awareness of human emotions, which are depicted with great sensitivity.