Khusraw Kills a Lion

Description

This painting depicts an episode from the second book of Niẓāmī Ganjavī's Khamsah (Quintet) entitled Khusraw va Shirin. In this book, the adventures and battles of the Persian king Khusraw are described, and his love for the Armenian princess Shirin. At a feast one day Khusraw and Shirin were sitting and drinking together (per the folio's verso) when suddenly a lion approached the royal pavilion. Thereupon, the king, albeit drunk, made a fist, hit the lion in the ear, and killed it on the spot. The painting follows the text very closely by depicting Shirin and her attendants still in the pavilion and King Khusraw killing the lion with his bare hands. The painting's style and the text layout resemble manuscripts produced for the market in Iran during the 16th and 17th centuries. The verso of this page describes Khusraw's killing of the lion. Above and below the composition appear the attending verses written in black nasta'liq script in four columns. The text is framed by cloud bands and appears on a gold background decorated with blue and red flowers. The entire text and painting panel is framed by variously colored borders and is pasted to a larger sheet of cream-colored paper. On the verso the text is written in black nasta'liq script in four columns and separated by gold gutters decorated with black dots. An illuminated chapter heading in the center of the text panel includes the title of the section, in which Khusraw and Shirin sit together. The text panel is framed by variously colored borders and is pasted to a larger sheet of cream-colored paper. Another painting from a different manuscript of Niẓāmī's Khusraw va Shirin is also held in the collections of the Library of Congress. It depicts King Khusraw in battle.

Last updated: July 31, 2014