Northwestern Iran or Baghdad
Ink, opaque watercolor, silver, and gold on paper; page: H. 14 in. (35.6 cm), W. 10 13/16 in. (27.5 cm)
Cora Timken Burnett Collection of Persian Miniatures and Other Persian Art Objects, Bequest of Cora Timken Burnett, 1956 (57.51.33)
The legendary death of the Sasanian king Yazdegerd I—who was said to have been kicked by a horse that magically emerged from a spring—is charmingly depicted in this leaf from a dispersed manuscript of the Shahnama (Book of Kings) of Firdausi, one of a few codices of small dimensions. The attribution is uncertain either to Iraq or Iran in the Ilkhanid period. The decoratively curving tree and the grassy verge of the groundline, which rings the water, are traditional; the funguslike growths are derived from Chinese art and the costumes are Mongol. The gestures of the figures at the left register astonishment and dismay.