"The Angel Surush Rescues Khusrau Parviz from a Cul-de-sac", Folio 708v from the Shahnama (Book of Kings) of Shah Tahmasp

Author: Abu'l Qasim Firdausi (935–1020)

Artist: Painting attributed to Muzaffar 'Ali (active late 1520s–70s; d. ca. 1576)

Object Name: Folio from an illustrated manuscript

Date: ca. 1530–35

Geography: Made in Iran, Tabriz

Medium: Opaque watercolor, ink, silver, and gold on paper

Dimensions: Painting: H. 13 1/2 in. (34.3 cm)
W. 11 in. (27.9 cm)
Page: H. 18 5/8 in. (47.3 cm)
W. 12 3/8 in. (31.4 cm)
Mat: H. 22 in. (55.9 cm)
W. 16 in. (40.6 cm)

Classification: Codices

Credit Line: Gift of Arthur A. Houghton Jr., 1970

Accession Number: 1970.301.73


Pursued by the potential usurper Bahram Chubina, Shah Khusrau Parviz fled up a narrow gorge. Reaching an impasse, Khusrau prayed to God for help, and instantly the angel Surush appeared and whisked him to safety. The painting is attributed to Muzaffar 'Ali, a leading artist of the younger generation and great-nephew of the renowned painter Bihzad. In keeping with his other compositions, the elements appear to fly apart, with rocks jutting in every direction. His brushwork is somewhat painterly, consisting of layers of pale hues rather than the customary technique of painting with richly saturated colors.