Rustam Kills the Turanian Hero Alkus with his Lance

Shahnama, Sultanate of Delhi, 1450



From the David Collection museum, Denmark
India; c. 1450
Leaf: 32 × 26 cm
Very little Islamic book painting has been preserved from the sultanate period before the advent of the Mughals in 1526. This miniature comes from a manuscript made by an artist who was highly influenced by Jain art from western India. Both the intense palette and the depiction of figures differ from those found in other Islamic painting.
Rustam is portrayed without his customary leopard helmet and tiger caftan. An unusual detail is Alkus, the whites of his eyes showing as he begins his death throes. The hierarchic perspective in which the heroes are largest and figures in front are smaller is also curious.

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