Audible Gift Memberships

Ilkhanid Illustration
Gav and Talhand's forces fight for a second time
from the 1341 Inju Shahnama, Shiraz

Object Number: 2011.493
Title: The Final Battle of Gaw and Talhand (painting, recto; text, verso), Illustrated folio from a manuscript of the Shahnama by Firdawsi
Classification: Manuscripts
Work Type: manuscript folio
Date: 1341
Places: Creation Place: Middle East, Iran, Shiraz
Period: Inju period, 1303-1357
Culture: Persian
Physical Descriptions
Medium: Ink and watercolors on paper.
Dimensions: 36.8 x 29.8 cm (14 1/2 x 11 3/4 in.)
Provenance: [1st Vente Sevadjian, Paris, 23 November 1960, cat. no. 128], sold; to Edwin Binney, 3rd, California (1961-1986), bequest; to Harvard Art Museums, 2011.
NOTE: Stored at the San Diego Museum of Art from some time before 1986 until 1991, then at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art from 1991-2011.
This illustrated folio belongs to a well known manuscript of the Shahnama by Firdawsi dated to 1341, which is now dispersed. The manuscript was created for the vizier of the Inju governor of Fars. The text is copied with six columns of text and the illustrations are placed mostly as horizontal bands, as here, and sometimes expanded in a stepped format. This folio illustrates the final battle between Gav and Talhand, who were half-brothers from the same mother. When their fathers die, the half-brothers fight for rulership of India. After two battles, the younger brother, Talhand, appears to be defeated by the older one, but the two of them agree to have a final battle. A large ditch is dug around a relatively tight battle ground, so that there is no escape. Mounted on elephants, the two brothers lead their armies. At the end, Talhand dies on his elephant when he sees no escape from the wind, sun, and the endless clash of arms. Gav returns home as victor and to help their mother understand what has happened, he invents the game of chess. The chess board represents the confined space of the battlefield. When a king’s way is blocked and his men have all been defeated, he dies, just like Talhand. The painting depicts the beginning of the battle. The two brothers face one another, mounted on wrinkly-skinned elephants, while soldiers skirmish around them, all against a flat, gold background. The text below the painting describes that section in the story. Other folios from the same manuscript are 1960.192, 1960.194, 1960.195, and 2002.50.12.
Source: Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, The Edwin Binney, 3rd Collection of Turkish Art at the Harvard Art Museums

Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Museum of Art [?]
Title of Work: Shahnama (1341)
Manuscript: TR.12220.24
Accession Number: TR.2220.24
Chapter 41 - Kisra Anushirvan (48 years)
Scene: Gav and Talhand's forces fight for a second time
English Title: Final battle of Gav and Talhand
Dimensions (h x w): 95 x 235 mm
Format: Irregular, random into the margins
Hijri Date: 741 Ramadan
Gregorian Date: 1341 February (to nearest hijri month)
School: Shiraz
Source: Shahnama Project

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