Iran or Iraq
Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper
text block: 6 1/8 x 4 15/16 in. (15.6 x 12.5 cm), painting: 2 3/16 x 4 7/8 in. (5.5 x 12.4 cm)
Purchase, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, 1934 (34.24.3)
The Byzantine emperor, concerned about the possibility of an invasion by the mighty Iranian forces, sent an embassy under his general Mihras carrying a letter of conciliation and lavish gifts, and a peaceful agreement was eventually concluded. In the miniature, the letterwhich assumes a special significance in this context, since the Ilkhanid rulers and the Catholic pope exchanged similar missivesand the gifts in the form of gold cups are shown at the foot of the shah's throne. Mihras is represented as a type of Crusader, something between a warrior and a priest, wearing a helmet and holding a cross.