"Rustam Avenges his Own Impending Death", Folio from a Shahnama (Book of Kings)

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

Object Name: Folio from an illustrated manuscript

Date: ca. 1330–40

Geography: Attributed to Iran, probably Isfahan

Medium: Ink, opaque watercolor, gold, and silver on paper

Dimensions: Page: 8 x 5 1/4 in. (20.3 x 13.3 cm)
Painting: 1 7/8 x 4 5/16 in. (4.8 x 10.9 cm)

Classification: Codices

Credit Line: Bequest of Monroe C. Gutman, 1974

Accession Number: 1974.290.31


Rustam's half-brother Shaghad dug a pit, filled it with sharp spikes, and covered it to trap the hero. Observing from behind a tree and exulting when Rustam and his horse fall into the pit and are impaled, Shaghad is killed by the dying hero's last arrow, which is shot with such strength that it pierces the tree. The scene is illustrated in an effective manner, with only Shaghad's head protruding from behind the tree. The mushroomlike rock on the left is a motif from Chinese painting that entered the Ilkhanid repertoire.