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Ilkhanid Illustration
Great Mongol (Demotte) Shāh-Nāmeh
Chapter 35 - Bahram Gur
Bahram Gur kills the dragon that had killed a youth

Tabriz, Persia, c.1335AD


A larger image of 'Bahram Gur kills the dragon that had killed a youth', Great Mongol (Demotte) Shāh-Nāmeh, Tabriz, c.1335 - Ilkhanid Soldiers. Cleveland Museum of Art, 1943.658.


56     Fig. 187 Bahram Gur Slaying a Dragon
Image: 20 x 29 cm (7⅞ x 11⅜ in.)
The Cleveland Museum of Art, Grace Rainey Rogers Fund (1943.658)

One day while hunting, Bahram Gur came across a fearsome dragon with hair to the ground and breasts like a woman’s. He shot arrows at the creature’s head and chest and dispatched it with his sword.
    The greater part of this illustration is filled with the writhing body of the dragon pierced with arrows.1 Bahram Gur is seen from the back with sword in hand, having dismounted from his horse to deliver the fatal blow. The artist has vividly captured the description of the beast, with its flowing hair and its sharp teeth and claws. Its powerfully sinuous body, elaborately scaled and speckled, wraps around a tree trunk in an upward diagonal across the picture space. The mountains in the background and some of the landscape elements in the foreground are rendered in a Chinese-inspired style.

1. Grabar and Blair 1980, pp. 154-55, no. 49.
Source: pp. 160 & 257, The Legacy of Genghis Khan Courtly Art and Culture in Western Asia 1256-1353



Cleveland, Cleveland Museum of Art
Title of Work: Shahnama (Great Mongol)
Manuscript: 1943.658-1959.330
Accession Number: 1943.658
Chapter 35 - Bahram Gur (1) (63 years)
Scene: Bahram Gur kills the dragon that had killed a youth
English Title: Bahram Gur Killing a Dragon
Dimensions (h x w): 200 x 290 mm
Format: Rectangular within borders
Reconstructed Folio: 209v
Gregorian Date: 1335 (circa)
School: Tabriz, Ilkhanid period
Source: Shahnama Project

Previous: f. 204v: 'Bahram Gur finds Jamshid's treasures', Great Mongol (Demotte) Shāh-Nāmeh, Tabriz, c.1335 - Ilkhanid Illustration. Freer Gallery of Art F1935.24.
Next: f. 210r: 'Bahram Gur helps the landlord's cow to produce milk again'. Great Mongol (Demotte) Shahnama. McGill University Library, Montreal. Persian 6.
Back to the Great Mongol (Demotte) Shah-Nameh. Tabriz, Ilkhanid Persia.



Persian Cavalrymen c.1335 in Armies of the Middle Ages, Volume 2 by Ian Heath, based on the 'Great Mongol' (Demotte) Shahnama