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Bijan Takes The Rein To Aid Gustaham,
Chapter 13f: The Twelve Rukhs
Big Head Shahnama, Turkmen, Iran, 1493
Aga Khan Museum

A larger image of Bijan Takes The Rein To Aid Gustaham, from a Shahnama, Turkman, 1493.

Accession Number: AKM64
Creator: Firdausi (d. 1020)
Place: Lahijan, Iran
Date: dated 899 AH/1493Ė94 CE
Materials and Technique: Ink, opaque watercolour, and gold on paper

Depicting only two mounted figures, the present folio represents an incident that takes place after a dozen single combats between Iranian and Turanian warriors. Undertaken to determine the outcome of an inconclusive battle, these confrontations, collectively known as the episode of the ďDavazda RukhĒ (Twelve Combats), all end in victory for the Iranians. When the slain Turanian commanderís brothers try to escape, however, the Iranian hero Gushtaham pursues and kills them while being wounded himself. The grandson of the Iranian commander, Bizhan, follows Gushtaham and takes him to the Iranian Shah Kai Khusrau. Khusrau saves Gushtahamís life by tying his own healing armlet around the wounded manís arm and appointing physicians to tend him.

The illustration captures the moment when Bizhan reaches Gushtaham. It draws attention to the specific instant by representing Bizhan grabbing the reins of the wounded Gushtahamís horse. In doing so, the illustration is more than a generic battle scene with two mounted figures: it includes a detail which purposely refers to Firdausiís text.
Source: Aga Khan Museum AKM64.

Geneva, Aga Khan Trust for Culture
Title of Work: Shahnama (Big Head)
Manuscript: 2005.1.62-64, 91-92 (Ir.M. 17-17/B, 60-60/A)
Accession Number: 2005.1.64 (Ir.M.17/B)
Chapter 13f - The Twelve Rukhs
Scene: Bizhan discovers the wounded Gustaham
English Title: Bizhan rides to aid Gustaham
Dimensions (h x w): 163 x 199 mm
Format: Stepped into the margins
Hijri Date: 899
Gregorian Date: 1493 (to nearest hijri year)
School: Turkman Commercial Style
Source: Shahnama Project

Back to Turkmen Soldiers from the Shahnama by Firdawsi, "Big Head Shahnama", Gilan, Iran, 1494