Illustrations from the First Small Shahnama, Baghdad, c.1300 showing Ilkhanid Mongols


Zahhak bound on mount Damavand
Chester Beatty Library, Dublin

The King of Yemen receives Faridun's sons
Aga Khan Trust for Culture, Geneva

Manuchihr kills Tur in battle
Chester Beatty Library, Dublin

Zal is Restored to his Father Sam by the Simurgh
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Rudaba and Zal together
Chester Beatty Library, Dublin

Zal displays his skills before Manuchihr
Freer Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

Sam visits Zal and Rustam
Chester Beatty Library, Dublin

The second battle between Nauzar and Afrasiyab
Chester Beatty Library, Dublin

Rustam catches Rakhsh
Chester Beatty Library, Dublin

Rustam lifts Afrasiyab by the belt
Chester Beatty Library, Dublin

Rakhsh Kills a Lion while Rustam is Asleept
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Rustam mortally wounds Suhrab
Chester Beatty Library, Dublin

Sudaba accuses Siyavush
Freer Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

Guruy executes Siyavush
Freer Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

Faramarz captures Surkha, son of Afrasiyab
Chester Beatty Library, Dublin

Giv finds Kay Khusrau in Turan
Chester Beatty Library, Dublin

Kay Khusrau reviews his troops
Chester Beatty Library, Dublin

Bizhan pursues Tazhav, who carries Ispanay on his horse
Chester Beatty Library, Dublin

Rivniz dies, but Bahram saves his crown
Chester Beatty Library, Dublin

Ruhham overcomes Bazur the Turanian wizard
Chester Beatty Library, Dublin

Rustam kills Ashkabus and his horse
Chester Beatty Library, Dublin

Rustam captures and kills Kamus
Chester Beatty Library, Dublin

Rustam overturns Chingish by seizing the tail of his horse
Chester Beatty Library, Dublin

Rustam fights Sava
Chester Beatty Library, Dublin

Rustam pulls the Khaqan of Chin from his elephant
Chester Beatty Library, Dublin

Rustam overthrows Puladvand
Chester Beatty Library, Dublin

Gustaham kills Lahhak
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Kay Khusrau gives a safe conduct to Afrasiyab's family
Freer Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

The execution of Afrasiyab
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Gushtasp kills a wolf in Rum
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Isfandiyar's second labour: he fights the lions
Museum funf Kontinente, Munich

Rustam boasts about his strength
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Iskandar kills the Abyssinian monster
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Bahram Gur fights two lions to win the throne
Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City

Bahram Gur with Barzin's daughters
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Anushirvan displays his prowess before Babak
Chester Beatty Library, Dublin

Anushirvan Receives Mihras, Envoy of Caesar
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Buzurjmihr arranges chess pieces before Anushirvan
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

The musician Barbad plays for Khusrau Parviz
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, M.73.5.406
Although the arts of the book in Iran enjoyed great prestige prior to the Mongol invasion of the mid-thirteenth century, the earliest extant illustrated manuscripts date from the reign of the Ilkhanid dynasty (1256-1336). Among this group are several copies of the Shahnama (Book of kings), the Persian national epic. Composed in the year 1010 by the poet Firdawsi, the Shahnama recounts the stories of legendary and historical kings and heroes. Its colourful combination of fact and fantasy has meant that it is the most frequently illustrated text in Iran. The earliest known copies are referred to as the first and second "small" Shahnama, respectively.

The folios of the First Small Shahnama are dispersed in a number of collections. The reconstructed order of the folios is from the Shahnama Project



Other Illustrations of Ilkhanid Mongols and Successors in 14th Century Persia and surrounds

Persian Illustrations of Costume & Soldiers
Index of Illustrations of Costume & Soldiers