Incorrect Username, Email, or Password
This object does not yet have a description.

Identification and Creation

Object Number
Story of How Garsivaz is Tortured to Capture Afrasiyab (text, recto and verso), folio from a manuscript of the Shahnama by Firdawsi
Work Type
manuscript folio
Creation Place: Middle East, Iran, Shiraz
Safavid period
Persistent Link

Physical Descriptions

Ink, opaque watercolor and gold on paper
37.2 x 24.1 cm (14 5/8 x 9 1/2 in.)


Recorded Ownership History
[Christies, London, 17 October 1995, lot no. 79]. [Mansour Gallery, London, before 1998], sold; to Stanford and Norma Jean Calderwood, Belmont, MA (by 1998-2002), gift; to Harvard Art Museums, 2002.

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, The Norma Jean Calderwood Collection of Islamic Art
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art

The Harvard Art Museums encourage the use of images found on this website for personal, noncommercial use, including educational and scholarly purposes. To request a higher resolution file of this image, please submit an online request.


Text folio with title “Kay Khusraw asks about Garsivaz”

Published Catalogue Text: In Harmony: The Norma Jean Calderwood Collection of Islamic Art , written 2013
86 A–B

Double page: The Execution of Afrasiyab
A. Verso: text, with title “Kay Khusraw asks about Garsivaz”
Folio: 37.2 × 24.1 cm (14 5/8 × 9 1/2 in.)
B. Recto: text and illustration, with title “The execution of Afrasiyab before Kay Khusraw”
Folio: 37.2 × 23.8 cm (14 5/8 × 9 3/8 in.)

The Turanians were at last defeated in battle, but their king, Afrasiyab, escaped. Eventually Hum, a recluse, discovered Afrasiyab hiding in a cave in the mountains and brought him to Kay Khusraw. In revenge for Siyavush’s murder, the Iranian king put Afrasiyab to death in the same manner, beheading him with a sword and collecting his blood in a basin. Afrasiyab’s brother Garsivaz, who had been present at Siyavush’s execution, was also put to death.

The illustration shows the beheading of the old Turanian king, witnessed rather than performed by Kay Khusraw, who sits on a throne surrounded by his retinue. Afrasiyab’s severed head rolls leftward off the carpet. In another departure from the text, the artist has omitted the basin used to catch Afrasiyab’s blood.

Mika M. Natif

Publication History

  • Mary McWilliams, ed., In Harmony: The Norma Jean Calderwood Collection of Islamic Art, exh. cat., Harvard Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 2013)

Exhibition History

Related Works

Verification Level

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art at