Illustrations from

Shahnameh (Shahnama) by Ferdowsi
Copy commisioned by Qiwam al-Daulah wa'l-Din Hasan
of the Inju Dynasty,
Ilkhanid governor of Shiraz, in March 1341CE

The celebrated dispersed Shahnama of the Inju period, commissioned by the vizier, Hajji Qavam al-Daula wa'l-Din Hasan, in Ramadan 741 AH. (ff. 5v-6r). The colophon has the date 20 Dhu'l-Qa'da but no year; it could be 741, as usually assumed, or the following year, 742.
Click on some paintings for a larger image.

Hunt in the mountains.

Source: (1) Shahnama Project
Frontispiece from a Shahnama (Book of Kings) by Firdawsi (d.1020); Illumination containing a Dedication to Qiwamuddawla wa'l-Din Hasan


A Ruler Enthroned.
Frontispiece.
Source: (2) Smithsonian

Chapter 7 Manuchihr


Sam, Zal, Simurgh [Sam asks the Simurgh to return Zal?].
Source: (3) University of Washington Sabah Art collections, Mathaf al-Kuwayt al-Watani, Yemen


The meeting of Zāl and Rudaba, father and mother of Rustam. [Zal sees Rudaba on the roof of her palace].
Source: (4) Museum of Fine arts, Boston

Chapter 8 Nauzar


Zāl joins Miḥrāb in battling the Turanians.

Source: (5) The Walters


Zahhak and Farshidward before Afrāsiyāb [?].

Source: (6) Smithsonian

Chapter 10 Garshasp


Zal tells Rustam to prepare for war against the Turanians.
Source: (1) Shahnama Project

Chapter 11 Kay Qubad


Rustam Lifts Afrāsiyāb from the Saddle.

Source: (7) Smithsonian's Museums of Asian Art

Chapter 12 Kay Kavus


Shah Kay Kavus Attempts To Fly To Heaven.

Source: (8) Aga Khan's Museum


Tahmineh comes to Rostam (Rustam).
Source: (9) The Fitzwilliam Museum
Rostam is approached by Tahmineh, the daughter of the King of Samagan in whose castle the hero is spending the night. Tahmineh, presumably the lady on the right (the other lady is her attendant), is a determined figure. The inclusion of an exterior brick wall enhances the notion that the spectator is getting a glimpse into an intimate scene. The candle that rises into the lines of text is suggestive of Rostam's response.


Siyavush Displays his Skill at Polo before Afrāsiyāb.
Source: (10) The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Chapter 13 Kay Khusrau


Pay Homage to Kay Khusrau [?].
Source: (11) Harvard University Library


Tus battling the Turanians. [perhaps 'Farud shoots Tus' horse from under him'].
Source: (12) The Walters


The Iranians mourn Farud [& his mother Jarira].
Source: (13) Shahnama Project


Iranian and Turanian Armies in Combat. [The Turanians defeat the Iranians].

Source: (14) The Metropolitan Museum of Art


Rustam Pleads for Tus Before Kay Khusrau.

Source: (15) The Metropolitan Museum of Art


Rustam kills Ashkabus the Kashani and his horse.
Source: (16) British Museum
Rustam appears as the central figure dressed in dark garments, facing the supposed Ashkabus (gripping a sword in defence). White horse lies between fight, two men (companions) stand to right of Rustam.


Rustam pulls the Khaqan of Chin from his elephant by lasso.

Source: (45) Museum of Fine arts, Boston


Rustam and the Iranian Army Besiege the Fortress of Kafur the Cannibal
[Gustaham besieges Kafur the Cannibal's fortress, then Rustam fights Kafur].
Source: (17) Harvard Art Museums


Rustam returning to Iran after killing the Div Akvan. [Kay Khusrau receives Rustam after he has killed Akvan Div].

Source: (18) Bonhams


Bizhan Slaughters the Wild Boars of Irman.

Source: (19) The Metropolitan Museum of Art


Rustam Rescues Bijan (Bizhan) from the Well.

Source: (20) Smithsonian's Museums of Asian Art


Rustam confronting the Turanian, Pilsam. [perhaps 'The armies of Turan and Iran facing each other'].

Source: (21) Smithsonian's Museums of Asian Art


Nastihan Slain by Bijan. [Nastihan makes a night attack and is killed by Bizhan].

Source: (22) Smithsonian


Two of the Duels between the Twelve Rukhs. Furuhad and Zangula (top); Ruhham and Barman (bottom).

Source: (23) Smithsonian


Shida, Son of Afrāsiyāb, Slain by Kay Khusraw (Khusrau).

Source: (24) Smithsonian


Kay Khusraw crossing the sea. [Kay Khusrau returns from Gang Dizh by sea].

Source: (25) Smithsonian's Museums of Asian Art


Execution of Afrāsiyāb.

Source: (5) The Walters


The Paladins of Kay Khusrau Perish in a Snowstorm.

Source: (26) The Metropolitan Museum of Art
The shah Kay Khusrau went to the mountains and disappeared in the snow. When his paladins realized what happened they set off to look for him, but they were caught in a snowstorm while asleep and they all perished. The illustration shows the typical traits of Injuid (1307-56) composition, with oversize figures against a mountainous landscape with pointed peaks. Another distinctive feature is the device of battle standards thrust into the upper margin of the page across the text to create a sense of expansive space.

Chapter 14 Luhrasp


Story of Luhrasp. [perhaps 'The death of Luhrasp in battle against the forces of Arjasp'].

Source: (27) Smithsonian

Chapter 15 Gushtasp


Gushtasp killing the Dragon [in Rum].
Source: (28) Smithsonian's Museums of Asian Art


Rustam Discoursing with Isfandiyar. [Rustam argues with Isfandiyar during the feast].

Source: (29) The Metropolitan Museum of Art


Rustum Fighting with Isfandiyar. [perhaps 'The first combat of Rustam and Isfandiyar'].

Source: (30) Albright Knox Gallery

Chapter 20 Iskandar (14 years)


Iskandar visits Queen Qaidafa of Andalucia.

Source: (44) Museum of Fine arts, Boston


Iskandar builds a wall against Gog and Magog.

Source: (43) David Collection Museum, Copenhagen

Chapter 22 The Sassanians: Ardashir Babakan (42 years)


Shahpur at the well.
Source: (31) University of Washington

Chapter 34 Yazdagird the Sinner


Yazdgird Shahriyar Enthroned.

Source: (32) Smithsonian


Bahrām Gūr Ascends to the Throne.

Source: (33) Christies

Chapter 35 Bahram Gur


Bahrām Gūr in a peasant's house. [Bahram Gur helps the landlord's cow to produce milk again].

Source: (34) The Walters


Bahrām Gūr Slays a Dragon in India.

Source: (35) Smithsonian


The Sasanian King Yazdigird Killed by a Kick from a Horse [Yazdigird II?].

Source: (36) Chester Beatty Library
Per 110, ff. 71a .
This folio is part of a dispersed Shahnama (Book of Kings) manuscript made for the Injuid vazir, or government minister, Qivam al-Din. The comparatively large figures, shallow picture space and horizontal format are typical of Islamic painting in all regions before the late fourteenth century. However, the simplified, highly stylized forms of the vegetation and the red background of this illustration are characteristic specifically of painting in the city of Shiraz in southern Iran in the time of the Injuid dynasty (c. 1325-53).

Chapter 39 Balash son of Piruz


Sarafra'i Kills Khushnavaz in a Night Battle [Khushnavaz fights Sufaray].
Source: (37) Brooklyn Museum
War was considered the most dangerous of imperial activities, but a ruler often depended on it to acquire or expand his kingdom. In this battle scene, armor-clad mounted warriors charge full speed ahead their adrenaline dynamically expressed through diagonally drawn bows, galloping horses, and the spiraling clouds of dust that frame them and rise up between the opposing forces. Along with the red and yellow ochre palette, the warriors' long torsos and the shallow background represent a style unique to painting in Shiraz under the lnjuids, governors of Fars province and vassals to the Ilkhanid Mongol rulers of Iran in the fourteenth century. This folio belongs to a manuscript commissioned by Qavam al-Din Hasan, minister to the Injuid governor of Fars province, Abu lshaq (ruled 1335-1353), in A.H. 741/1341 A.D., as stated in its colophon. Court life thus extended into the lives of independent governing courts at the furthest reaches of the empire.

Chapter 41 Kisra Anushirvan


King Khusraw (Kisra) Anushirvan Enthroned.

Source: (38) Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Chapter 43 Khusrau Parviz


Kharrad Recognizes the Princess as being an Automaton [Kharrad Barzin investigates the weeping talisman and reveals its secret?].

Source: (39) The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Other Images - chapters unknown



Other Illustrations of Ilkhanid Mongols and Successors in 14th Century Persia and surrounds
Drawings of, & notes on, Heavy Cavalry by Ian Heath: Persian Cavalryman c1320, Persian Cavalrymen c.1335 & Persian Cavalrymen c.1335

Persia Illustrations of Costume & Soldiers
Index of Illustrations of Costume & Soldiers




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