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Folio from Khusraw u Shirin (Khosrow and Shirin) by Nizami Ganjavi (d.1209); recto: illustration: "The sculptor Farhad brought before Shirin"; verso: text

TYPE: Detached manuscript folio, nasta'liq script
Artist/Calligrapher: Ali ibn Hasan al-Sultani
HISTORICAL PERIOD(S): Jalayirid period (1340 - 1432), ca. 1400
MEDIUM: Ink, opaque watercolor and gold on paper
DIMENSION(S): H x W: 27.3 x 16.5 cm (10 3/4 x 6 1/2 in)
GEOGRAPHY: Tabriz or Baghdad
COLLECTION: Freer Gallery of Art
DESCRIPTION: Detached folio from the Khusraw u Shirin by Nizami; text: Persian in black nasta'liq script; heading in gold; recto: illustration: The sculptor Farhad brought before Shirin; verso: text, 4 columns, 23 lines; one of a group of 7 detached folios (F1931-37) from the manuscript (F1931.29) and the book binding (F 1931.30); accessioned separately.
Binding: The painting and the text are set in gold, green, and blue rulings on gold-sprinkled paper.

In 1370, the Turco-Mongol warlord Timur (also known as Tamerlane in the West) conquered much of present-day Iraq, Iran, and Central Asia and established the Timurid dynasty. His descendants may have lacked Timur's military prowess, but they were among the most active patrons of architecture and the arts of the book, which reached unprecedented levels of sophistication during the fifteenth century.
Nizami's Khamsa (Quintet), one of Iran's and Azerbaijan's literary masterpieces, was particularly favored during the Timurid period. This folio is from the second poem, known as Khusraw and Shirin and is devoted to the romance between the last Sasanian king, Khusraw II (reigned 590628), known as Parviz (the Victorious), and Shirin, the beautiful and independent-minded Christian princess. It depicts the first encounter between Shirin and the third central character of Nizami's text, the sculptor Farhad, who also falls desperately in love with the princess. Intimate in scale, the painting's meticulously rendered, stagelike interior and jewel-like palette are characteristic of early Timurid aesthetic refinement.

PROVENANCE: To 1931 Hagop Kevorkian (1872-1962), New York to 1931 [1]
From 1931 Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from Hagop Kevorkian, New York in 1931 [2]





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