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Ilkhanid Illustration
Bahram Gur at the Home of Baraham the Jew
[Baraham the Jew makes Bahram Gur sweep up horse droppings]
Folio from the 'Second Small Shahnama' (Book of Kings) c.1300AD
Chapter 35 - Bahram Gur (1) (63 years)


A larger image of 'Baraham the Jew makes Bahram Gur sweep up horse dropping', from the 'Second Small Shahnama' (Book of Kings) c.1300 AD. Brooklyn Museum of Art 86.227.130.1


Page from an Illustrated Manuscript of the 'Second Small Shahnama' of Firdawsi (d. 1020)
The Shahnama (Book of Kings) is the Iranian national epic, stemming from oral tradition and put to verse circa 1000 by the poet Abu'l Qasim Firdawsi of Tus. It describes the legendary lives of the kings of Iran from creation to the Arab conquest of the country between the 630s and the 650s. Over the centuries that followed its composition, the tales of the Shahnama had become widely popular; by the early fourteenth century, Shahnama manuscripts had become one of the principal vehicles for Persian painting. This illustrated page belongs to one of the earliest surviving illustrated Shahnamas. It depicts an episode in the princely cycle related to the Sasanian monarch Bahram Gur.

Traveling incognito to a village to investigate reports of the stinginess of a villager named Baraham, Bahram Gur asks for a night's lodging in the man's home. After much hesitation, Baraham allows the disguised king to spend the night in his courtyard, on the condition that he pay for any damage he may inflict and that he clean up after his horse. Bahram and his horse spend the night outdoors while his host enjoys a sumptuous feast inside. In this illustration, Bahram Gur is shown sweeping up horse manure after a night of hunger and cold.

Medium: Opaque watercolor, ink, and gold on paper
Possible Place Made: Baghdad, Iraq
Dates: ca. 1300
Dynasty: Ilkhanid Mongol
Dimensions: 6 5/8 x 5 1/4 in. (16.8 x 13.3 cm)
Accession Number: 86.227.130.1a-b
Credit Line: Gift of the Ernest Erickson Foundation, Inc.
Source: Brooklyn Museum of Art



New York, Brooklyn Museum of Art
Manuscript: 36.239, 86.227.130.1a-b, 86.227.130.2a-b, 86.227.131.1a-b, 86.227.131.2a-b
Accession Number: 86.227.131.1a-b
Chapter 35 - Bahram Gur (1) (63 years)
Scene: Baraham the Jew makes Bahram Gur sweep up horse droppings
Dimensions (h x w): 40 x 121 mm
Format: Rectangular, breaking through frame
Gregorian Date: 1300 (circa)
School: Baghdad?
Source: Shahnama Project



Another folio from this Shahnama: Bahram Gur in a Peasant's House
Back to the 'Second Small Shahnama' (Book of Kings), Ilkhanid Persia, c.1300AD