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Ilkhanid Illustration
Great Mongol (Demotte) Shāh-Nāmeh
Chapter 41 - Kisra Anushirvan (48 years)
Mihran Sitad asks the Khaqan to give his daughter to Anushirvan as a wife

Tabriz, Persia, c.1335AD


A larger image of 'Mihran Sitad asks the Khaqan to give his daughter to Anushirvan as a wife', Great Mongol (Demotte) Shāh-Nāmeh, Tabriz, c.1335 - Ilkhanid Soldiers. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 22.392.


Firdawsi's "Shahnama": Mihran Sitad Choosing One of the Khagan's Five Daughters
Persian
Ilkhanid period
1317–35

Object Place: Tabriz, Iran
DIMENSIONS: 41.0 x 29.7 cm (16 1/8 x 11 11/16 in.)
ACCESSION NUMBER: 22.392
MEDIUM OR TECHNIQUE: Ink, gold, and opaque watercolor on paper
Provenance: 1922, sold by Georges Joseph DeMotte (b. 1877- d. 1923), Paris, to the MFA (Accession Date: March 17, 1922)
Credit Line: Helen and Alice Colburn Fund and Seth K. Sweetser Fund
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 22.392



Fig. 192 (cat. no. 61). Mihran Sitad Selecting a Chinese Princess, page from the Great Mongol Shahnama (Book of Kings), Iran (probably Tabriz), 1330s.
Ink, colors, and gold on paper. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Helen and Alice Colburn Fund and Seth K. Sweetser Fund (22.392)


61     Fig. 192
Mihran Sitad Selecting a Chinese Princess
Image: 18 x 27 cm (7⅛ x 10⅝ in.)
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Helen and Alice Colburn Fund and Seth K. Sweetser Fund (22.392)

Intimidated by reports of Nushirvan’s power and eager to seal their alliance, the khaqan offered the shah one of his daughters in marriage. Nushirvan agreed and sent his trusted adviser Mihran Sitad to the Chinese court to select the most nobly born of the princesses. The khaqan had several daughters, but his daughter by the queen was his dearest and he did not want to lose her. So he ordered all her half sisters to be attired in the finest garments and jewels in the hope that the one plainly dressed maiden would escape notice. Mihran Sitad immediately recognized the nobility and charm of the khaqan’s favorite child and selected her as Nushirvan’s bride.
    The illustration shows Mihran Sitad, with three lesser figures, behind a balustrade gazing at the Chinese princesses.1 According to the text of the Shahnama, the queen’s daughter was the simplest and least adorned of her sisters, but here she is dressed more elaborately than the others. She is seated in the center of the group, and her importance is further emphasized by the flame above her head. The architectural setting reflects markedly Chinese elements, especially in the roof.

1. Grabar and Blair 1980, pp. 172-73, no. 58.
Source: pp. 164 & 258, The Legacy of Genghis Khan Courtly Art and Culture in Western Asia 1256-1353



Boston, Museum of Fine Arts
Title of Work: Shahnama (Great Mongol)
Manuscript: 22.392-31.436
Accession Number: 22.392
Chapter 41 - Kisra Anushirvan (48 years)
Scene: Mihran Sitad asks the Khaqan to give his daughter to Anushirvan as a wife
Dimensions (h x w): 185 x 245 mm
Format: Rectangular within borders
Reconstructed Folio: 234v
Gregorian Date: 1335 (circa)
School: Tabriz
Source: Shahnama Project

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