Illustrations from the Shahnama showing Timurid soldiers

A sword fight between Bizhan and Farud, 1435-1440

The figures wear contemporary dress or dress of no latter than the date of the illustration.
The actions portray the Sassanid/Sassanian period.


Made in Shiraz. Timurid dynasty. British Museum
Bizhan, a young Iranian hero, is shown holding a horse's tail. He defeated Farud, son of Siyavush, and forced him to flee to his castle, visible at the upper right. In contrast to 14th-century illustrations, the horse is protected by armour and the helmets are turban-shaped with square ear flaps and are higher than earlier examples. Also, the soldiers now wear solid metal armour on their arms and legs. The spongey rocks that jut into the margin at the upper left were introduced to Shiraz painting in the early 14th century but continued to be popular until around 1450.

Object type: painting, manuscript
Description: Bijan and Farud; painting, detached page from an illustrated manuscript of Firdawsi's Shahnama. A sword fight between Bijan and Farud with one mounted on a blue-cloaked horse and the other standing behind him dressed in red. Brick castle in top right corner and a group of men to the left of the fight. Four columns of text at top of page, with red caption at the topmost centre. Ink, opaque watercolour and gold on paper.
School/style: Persian School/Style
Culture/period: Timurid dynasty
Date: 1435-1440
Production place: Made in: Shiraz (South Iran, Fars province)
Materials: paper
Technique: painted
Dimensions:
  Width: 17.5 centimetres (sheet)
  Height: 21.5 centimetres (sheet)
  Width: 14.1 centimetres (image)
  Height: 21.4 centimetres (image)
Source: British Museum number: 1948,1009,0.50
Minuchihr slays Salm, from the Shahnamah of 1435-1440


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