Illustrations from

Shahnameh (Shahnama) by Ferdowsi
Copy commisioned by Qiwam al-Daulah wa'l-Din Hasan
of the Inju Dynasty,
Ilkhanid governor of Shiraz, in March 1341CE


The celebrated dispersed Shahnama of the Inju period, commissioned by the vizier, Hajji Qavam al-Daula wa'l-Din Hasan, in Ramadan 741 AH. (ff. 5v-6r). The colophon has the date 20 Dhu'l-Qa'da but no year; it could be 741, as usually assumed, or the following year, 742.

Patron: Qawam al-Daula wa'l-Din Hasan
Calligrapher: Hasan b. Muhammad b. 'Ali b. Husaini

Introduction to the 1341 Shahnameh
Click on some paintings for a larger image.

Hunt in the mountains.
Frontispiece from a Shahnama (Book of Kings) by Firdawsi (d.1020); Illumination containing a Dedication to Qiwamuddawla wa'l-Din Hasan
Freer | Sackler S1986.113



A Ruler Enthroned. Frontispiece.
Freer | Sackler S1986.112


Preface



Firdausi and the poets of Ghazna.

FIRDAUSI AND THE COURT POETS OF GHAZNI

FOLIO FROM A DISPERSED COPY OF FIRDAUSI’S SHAHNAMEH (BOOK OF KINGS)

Accession Number: AKM88
Place: Iran, Shiraz
Dimensions: 37 x 30.4 cm
Date: 741 AH / 1341
Materials and Technique: Ink, coloured pigments and gold on paper
This was originally the fourth folio in a volume of Firdausi’s Shahnameh (Book of Kings) that was copied and illustrated in 1341 in the city of Shiraz, then governed by Inju administrators on behalf of Iran’s ruling Ilkhanid or Mongol dynasty (1256–1353). It would have appeared before the beginning of Firdausi’s epic poem, which recounts the story of Iran from mythical times through to the arrival of the Muslim Arabs in the 7th century AD.

Further Reading

Part of this preface concerns the (largely apocryphal) biography of the poet Firdausi. In need of patronage and financial support to finish the Shahnameh (which would, in fact, take 30 years to complete), Firdausi left his hometown of Tus in northeastern Iran, and travelled to the realm of Sultan Mahmud, ruler of the Ghaznavid dynasty, in Ghazni, the southeastern province of present-day Afghanistan. There he encountered three court poets—‘Unsari, Farrukhi, and ‘Asjadi—enjoying themselves in a garden. Thinking to trick the newcomer, each poet recited one line (misra) of an impromptu quatrain and challenged Firdausi to come up with the fourth and final line. Firdausi excelled at this test of his poetic acumen, with a verse invoking how the Iranian hero Giv speared the Turanian warrior Pashan to death. The three Ghaznavid poets immediately recognized him as worthy of inclusion in their company and of presentation to Sultan Mahmud.

The lines above and flanking the little illustration at the bottom of this folio recount the poetic test. The composition itself has Firdausi seated on the left, facing ‘Unsari, Farruki and ‘Asjadi and with each holding a wine cup. And whereas these three poets are dressed in relatively simply robes, Firdausi’s fancier garment is adorned with a lotus blossom, perhaps to indicate his intellectual superiority. Leafy branches fill the background, indicating the garden setting where this literary contest occurred.

— Marianna Shreve Simpson
Source: Aga Khan Museum



Geneva, Aga Khan Trust for Culture
Title of Work: Shahnama (1341)
Manuscript: 2005.1.28-37 (Ir.M. 6-6/I)
English Title: Firdawsi and the three court poets of Ghazna
Dimensions (h x w): 68 x 152 mm
Reconstructed Folio: 056r
Hijri Date: 741 Dhu'l-Qa'da 20
Gregorian Date: 1341 May 14
School: Inju, Shiraz
Source: Shahnama Project
Chapter 1 - Kayumars (30 years)



Hushang kills the Black Div.
Geneva, Musée d'art et d'histoire
Title of Work: Shahnama (1341)
Manuscript: Qavam al-Din
Accession Number: 1971-107/5v
Chapter 1 - Kayumars (30 years)
Scene: Hushang kills the Black Div
Dimensions (h x w): 90 x 240 mm
Format: Rectangular within borders
Reconstructed Folio: 008v
Hijri Date: 741 Dhu'l-Qa'da 20
Gregorian Date: 1341 May 14
School: Shiraz
Source: Shahnama Project Musée d'art et d'histoire, Geneva

Chapter 6 Faridun (500 years)



The murder of Iraj.
Museum funf Kontinente, Munich
Title of Work: Shahnama (1341)
Manuscript: 77-11-394
Scene: The murder of Iraj
Dimensions (h x w): 97 x 17 mm
Format: Rectangular within borders
Reconstructed Folio: 016v
Hijri Date: 741 Dhu'l-Qa'da 20
Gregorian Date: 1341 May 14
School: Shiraz, Inju
Source: Shahnama Project Museum funf Kontinente, Munich



Manuchihr and Qaran fight Salm [Manuchihr kills Salm].
Aga Khan Museum AKM28


Chapter 7 Manuchihr


Sam recognizes his son Zal in the Simurgh's nest.

Title: Sam, Zal, Simurgh
Category: Persian Painting
Object Name: Shah-nameh of 1341. Firdawsi. Shahnamah
Detail: Painted under the Inju dynasty
Location: Iran
Dynasty: Inju
Sabah, Nasser Sabah al-Ahmad -- Art collections
Date: 1341
Current Exhibition Site: Mathaf al-Kuwayt al-Watani
Source: University of Washington Digital Collection
The al-Sabah Collection. Kuwait National Museum, Kuwait
Title of Work: Shahnama (1341)
Manuscript: Qavam al-Din
Accession Number: LNS 36 MS
Chapter 7 - Manuchihr (120 years)
Scene: Sam recognizes his son Zal in the Simurgh's nest
Reconstructed Folio: 021r
Hijri Date: 741 Dhu'l-Qa'da 20
Gregorian Date: 1341 May 14
School: Shiraz
Source: Shahnama Project



The meeting of Zāl and Rudaba, father and mother of Rustam. [Zal sees Rudaba on the roof of her palace].
Museum of Fine arts, Boston




Manuchihr learns about Zal and Rudaba.
Aga Khan Museum AKM29


Chapter 8 Nauzar


Zāl joins Miḥrāb in battling the Turanians. [Zal kills Khazarvan in combat]
The Walters W.677


Chapter 10 Garshasp


Zal tells Rustam to prepare for war against the Turanians.
British Museum 1925,0220,0.1


Chapter 11 Kay Qubad


Rustam Lifts Afrāsiyāb from the Saddle. [Rustam lifts Afrasiyab by the belt]
Freer | Sackler F1952.35


Chapter 12 Kay Kavus



Rustam's fourth labour: he kills the witch / Rustam relaxes.
Rustam camps in a field and gets into a fight with the watchman.
Rustam's fifth labour: he lassoes Aulad.
Les Musées d'art et d'histoire, Geneva, 1971-0107-0369.



The King of Mazandaran changes himself into a rock. 1341 Shahnama - Inju Dynasty, Shiraz. Les Musées d'art et d'histoire, Geneva, 1971-0107-0332.
Les Musées d'art et d'histoire, Geneva, 1971-0107-0332.


Shah Kay Kavus Attempts To Fly To Heaven. [Kay Kavus airborne]
Aga Khan's Museum




Firdausi and his book introduced to Sultan Mahmud
Accession Number: Per 110.4v
Scene described by text: Rustam kills Alkus in combat
English Title: The book presented to Sultan Mahmud sitting on his throne
Dimensions (h x w): 131 x 240 mm
Format: Stepped within borders
Reconstructed Folio: 47v
Source: Shahnama Project The Chester Beatty Library, Dublin



Tahmina visits Rustam's chamber.
Keir Collection, Dallas, III.4




Kay Kavus summons Rustam.

Accession Number: Per 110.5r
Scene: Kay Kavus summons Rustam
English Title: Rustam before Kay Kavus
Dimensions (h x w): 60 x 235 mm
Format: Stepped within borders
Reconstructed Folio: 51r
Source: Shahnama Project The Chester Beatty Library, Dublin


Siyavush Displays his Skill at Polo before Afrasiyab.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 57.51.35



Rustam, Zal and other Pahlawands Pay Homage to Kay Khusrau [Rustam comes to Kay Kavus].
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum 1960.194



Human attacks Rustam to allow Afrasiyab to escape.
Freer | Sackler F1942.11




Giv negotiates with the boatman who asks for bribes &
Kay Khusrau crosses the Oxus with Farangis and Giv.
Houston Museum of Fine Arts TR. 1654-2015


Chapter 13 Kay Khusrau



The Iranians mourn Farud [& his mother Jarira].
Museum of Islamic Art, Doha, MS 355



Rustam Pleads for Tus Before Kay Khusrau. [Rustam asks Kay Khusrau to pardon Tus.]
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 57.51.36



Human fights Tus.
Aga Khan Museum AKM32




Tus battling the Turanians. [The Iranians regroup and fight back].
The Walters W.677Ca




Rustam kills Ashkabus the Kashani and his horse.
The British Museum 1933.9.29.02v




Rustam captures and kills Kamus.

Accession Number: Per 110.17v
Scene: Rustam captures and kills Kamus
English Title: Rustam dragging Kamus with lasso
Dimensions (h x w): 63 x 235 mm
Format: Rectangular within borders
Reconstructed Folio: 106r
Source: Shahnama Project / The Chester Beatty Library, Dublin


Rustam pulls the Khaqan of Chin from his elephant by lasso.
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 20.1839



Rustam and the Iranian Army Besiege the Fortress of Kafur the Cannibal
[Gustaham besieges Kafur the Cannibal's fortress, then Rustam fights Kafur].
Harvard Art Museums 1960.195



Rustam/Akhwand. [Perhaps Akvan Div flings Rustam into the sea?]
Title: Rustam/Akhwand
Category: Persian Painting
Object Name: Shah-nameh of 1341. Firdawsi. Shahnamah
Detail: Painted under the Inju dynasty
Location: Iran
Dynasty: Inju
Sabah, Nasser Sabah al-Ahmad -- Art collections
Date: 1341
Current Exhibition Site: Mathaf al-Kuwayt al-Watani
Source: University of Washington Digital Collection



London, Sotheby's
Title of Work: Shahnama (1341)
Manuscript: Qavam al-Din
Accession Number: 1967 December 6, lot 11
Chapter 13d - Rustam fights Akhvan Div
Scene: Akvan Div flings Rustam into the sea
Reconstructed Folio: 116
Hijri Date: 741 Dhu'l-Qa'da 20
Gregorian Date: 1341 May 14
Public Notes: NB, Shreve Simpson, p. 239, in her reconstruction, places this on either fol. 120 or 121, in the story of Bizhan and Manizha, but it should clearly come before the first painting in that episode, on fol. 123r.
Source: Shahnama Project


Rustam returning to Iran after killing the Div Akvan. [Kay Khusrau receives Rustam after he has killed Akvan Div].
Bonhams



Bizhan Slaughters the Wild Boars of Irman.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 29.160.22




Rustam feasts with Kay Khusrau
Accession Number: Per 110.21r
Scene: Rustam feasts with Kay Khusrau
Dimensions (h x w): 114 x 235 mm
Format: Stepped within borders
Reconstructed Folio: 123r
Source: Shahnama Project / The Chester Beatty Library, Dublin


Rustam Rescues Bijan (Bizhan) from the Well (pit).
Freer | Sackler F1945.7




Rustam and Bizhan defeat Afrasiyab in battle
The San Diego Museum of Art 1971.55




The return of Rustam with Bijan from Turan. [Rustam comes before Kay Khusrau after returning with Bizhan]
The San Diego Museum of Art 1971.55




Bizhan kills Human.
Aga Khan Museum AKM33



Nastihan Slain by Bijan. [Nastihan makes a night attack and is killed by Bizhan].
Freer | Sackler S1986.119




Giv fights Lahhak and Farshidvard.
Chester Beatty Library, Dublin, Per 110.23v



Two of the Duels between the Twelve Rukhs. The fourth combat: Furuhil fights Zangala (top); The fifth combat: Ruhham fights Barman (bottom).
Freer | Sackler S1986.115




Piran escapes from Gudarz up the mountainside.
Cleveland Museum of Art 1944.479



Lahhak and Farshidward before Afrāsiyāb
[Lahhak and Farshidvard head back to Turan].
Freer | Sackler S1986.99



Shida, Son of Afrāsiyāb, Slain by Kay Khusraw (Khusrau).
Freer | Sackler S1986.117




Kay Khusrau kills Aila.
Title of Work: Shahnama (1341)
Manuscript: Per 110
Chapter - 13g - The Great War between Kay Khusrau and Afrasiyab
Accession Number: Per 110.24v
Scene: Kay Khusrau kills Aila
English Title: Kay Khusrau kills Ila
Dimensions (h x w): 83 x 235 mm
Format: Rectangular within borders
Reconstructed Folio: 148v
Hijri Date: 741 Dhu'l-Qa'da 20
Gregorian Date: 1341 May 15
School: Shiraz
Source: Shahnama Project / Chester Beatty Library, Dublin



Kay Khusrau besieges Gang Dizh.
Keir Collection, Dallas, III.005



Kay Khusrau crosses Lake Zara.
Freer | Sackler F1942.12 S1986.113




Execution of Afrāsiyāb.
The Walters W.677Ba



The Paladins of Kay Khusrau Perish in a Snowstorm.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 36.113.2


Chapter 14 Luhrasp


Gushtasp kills a dragon in Rum.
Freer | Sackler F1942.11

Note the chamfron.


Story of Luhrasp. [perhaps 'Luhrasp assassinated'].
Freer | Sackler S1986.116


Chapter 15 Gushtasp



Bidarafsh kills Zarir, the brother of Gushtasp.
Title of Work: Shahnama (1341)
Manuscript: Per 110
Chapter - 15 Gushtasp (120 years)
Accession Number: Per 110.37v
Scene: Bidarafsh kills Zarir, the brother of Gushtasp
English Title: Zarir son of Luhrasp fights Bidarafsh
Dimensions (h x w): 81 x 235 mm
Format: Irregular, random into the margins
Reconstructed Folio: 172v
Hijri Date: 741 Dhu'l-Qa'da 20
Gregorian Date: 1341 May 15
School: Shiraz
Source: Shahnama Project / Chester Beatty Library, Dublin


Iranian and Turanian Armies in Combat. [Arjasp defeats Gushtasp].
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 36.113.1




Jamasp releases Isfandiyar.
Title of Work: Shahnama (1341)
Manuscript: Per 110
Chapter - 15 Gushtasp (120 years)
Accession Number: Per 110.41v
Scene: Jamasp releases Isfandiyar
English Title: Isfandiyar tied to four pillars by order of his father, Gushtasp
Dimensions (h x w): 102 x 235 mm
Format: Stepped within borders
Hijri Date: 741 Dhu'l-Qa'da 20
Gregorian Date: 1341 May 15
School: Shiraz
Source: Shahnama Project / Chester Beatty Library, Dublin



Isfandiyar lassoes the Turanian hero Gurgsar.
Cambridge, Harvard University Art Museums
Title of Work: Shahnama (1341)
Manuscript: 1960.192-195, 2002.50.12
Accession Number: 2002.50.12
Chapter 15 - Gushtasp (120 years)
Scene: Isfandiyar lassoes the Turanian hero Gurgsar
Dimensions (h x w): 285 x 240 mm
Format: Rectangular within borders
Reconstructed Folio: 178v
Hijri Date: 741 Dhu'l-Qa'da 20
Gregorian Date: 1341 May 15
School: Inju
Source: Shahnama Project / Harvard University Art Museums



Isfandiyar's second labour: he fights the lions.
Aga Khan Museum AKM34




Isfandiyar's third labour: he fights the dragon.
Aga Khan Museum AKM35




Isfandiyar's fifth labour: he kills the Simurgh.
Keir Collection, Dallas, III.006



Rustam Discoursing with Isfandiyar. [Rustam feasts with Isfandiyar].
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 29.160.21




Rustum Fighting with Isfandiyar. ['The first combat of Rustam and Isfandiyar'].
Albright Knox Gallery, Buffalo, New York, 1935:15.2


Chapter 20 Iskandar (14 years)


Iskandar visits Queen Qaidafa of Andalucia. [Iskandar with Queen Qaydafa and her court]
Museum of Fine arts, Boston, 20.1841



Iskandar builds a wall against Gog and Magog.
David Collection, Copenhagen, 13/1990




The great sages mourn the death of Iskandar.
McGill University Libraries, Montreal, Persian MS 5


Chapter 22 The Sassanians: Ardashir Babakan (42 years)


Shapur Discovers Mihrak's Daughter at the Well. [Mihrak's daughter converses with Shapur].
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum 1960.192


Chapter 33 Bahram son of Shapur (14 years)


Yazdgird Shahriyar Enthroned.
Freer | Sackler S1986.118


Chapter 34 Yazdagird the Sinner



The Sasanian King Yazdigird Killed by a Sea-monster in the form of a Horse.
Chester Beatty Library, Dublin




Bahrām Gūr Ascends to the Throne. [Bahram Gur enthroned after killing the lions ?]
Keir Collection, Dallas, U.111




Bahram Gur enthroned.
The Chester Beatty Library, Dublin, Ireland
Manuscript Per 110
Chapter 35 - Bahram Gur (1) (63 years)
Accession Number: Per 110.72a
Scene: Bahram Gur enthroned
Dimensions (h x w): 114 x 235 mm
Format: Stepped within borders
Reconstructed Folio: 229r
Hijri Date: 741 Dhu'l-Qa'da 20
Gregorian Date: 1341 May 15
School: Shiraz
Source: Shahnama Project / Chester Beatty Library, Dublin

Chapter 35 Bahram Gur (1) (63 years)


Bahrām Gūr in a peasant's house. [Bahram Gur helps the landlord's cow to produce milk again].
The Walters W.677Aa



Bahrām Gūr Slays a Dragon in India.
Freer | Sackler S1986.114


Chapter 39 Balash son of Piruz (5 years, 1 month, 6 days)


Sarafra'i Kills Khushnavaz in a Night Battle [Khushnavaz fights Sufaray].
Brooklyn Museum 86.227.133


Chapter 41 Kisra Anushirvan (48 years)


King Khusraw (Kisra) Anushirvan Enthroned.
Los Angeles County Museum of Art M.73.5.18




Anushirvan's fourth majlis for Buzurjmihr.
Aga Khan Museum AKM36




Gav and Talhand's forces fight for a second time.
Harvard Art Museums 2011.493




Caesar's envoys before Anushirvan.
Chester Beatty Library, Dublin, Per 110.83r


Chapter 42 Hurmuzd (14 years)



Ayin Gushtasp is murdered.
Chester Beatty Library, Dublin, Per 110.85v


Chapter 43 Khusrau Parviz (38 years)



Bahram Chubina Enthroned.
Minneapolis Institute of Art, USA, 51.37.23



Kharrad Recognizes the Princess as being an Automaton [Gustaham in conversation with the weeping talisman, then, Kharrad Barzin investigates the weeping talisman and reveals its secret].
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 36.113.3


Chapter 50 Yazdagird (16 years)



Sa'd-i Vaqqas kills Rustam.
Worcester, Worcester Art Museum
Title of Work: Shahnama (1341)
Manuscript: Qavam al-Din
Accession Number: 1935-21v
Chapter 50 - Yazdagird (16 years)
Scene: Sa'd-i Vaqqas kills Rustam
Format: Rectangular within borders
Reconstructed Folio: 317v
Hijri Date: 741 Dhu'l-Qa'da 20
Gregorian Date: 1341 May 14
School: Shiraz
Source: Shahnama Project / Worcester Art Museum



Bizhan kills Mahuy and his sons to avenge the murder of Yazdigird and enthronement.
Aga Khan Museum AKM37




Finispiece, Enthronement
Aga Khan Museum AKM37v


Other Images - chapters unknown


    These paintings belong to a dispersed manuscript that was produced in 741 H / 1341 CE, and is one of three well-known and densely-illustrated Shāhnāma manuscripts made for the court environment of Inju Shiraz, a governorship in the Iranian province of Fars (the other two are dated 1330 [Istanbul, Topkapi Palace Library, H.1479] and 1333 [St Petersburg, National Library of Russia, Dorn329]). Like many a valuable manuscript handled by Western art dealers in the early twentieth century, this Shāhnāma codex was taken apart and sold page by page on the art market, thus scattering the folios to public and private collections around the world. After thorough study, the original pagination of 180 extant folios was reconstructed and 36 collections were identified which currently own folios (Simpson in: Hillenbrand 2000, pp. 217-247). Remarkably, among these farflung fragments, there survive not only the dedication pages from the front of the book (Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, S1986.110v and S1986.111r), but also the final folio containing the colophon statement (AKTC IRM06Iv). This is how it was discovered that the manuscript was made for the Inju wazīr (minister) Hajji Qawam al-Dawla wa-l-Din Hasan, and the calligrapher was Hasan b. Muhammad b. ʿAli b. Husayni al-Mawsili. MC
Source: p.206, Treasures of the Aga Khan Museum, Masterpieces of Islamic Art



Other Illustrations of Ilkhanid Mongols and Successors in 14th Century Persia and surrounds
Persia Illustrations of Costume & Soldiers
Index of Illustrations of Costume & Soldiers