- Identification and Creation
- Object Number
- Episodes from the Story of Mahuy (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
- 36.7 x 23.7 cm (14 7/16 x 9 5/16 in.)
- [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
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- Text folio, with titles “How Mahuy was informed of Yazdigird’s death and ascended the throne” and “Mahuy’s consultation with the minister and his answer to him”
Recto. Text corresponds with Ramazani (1963) vol. 5, pp. 237-38, lines 7942-7971; text describes how Mahuy of Sur was informed of the obsequies of Yazdigird, and ascended the throne.
Verso. Text corresponds with Ramazani (1963) vol. 5, pp. 328-30, lines 7972-8001; subtitles in text read, "Reign of Mahuy lasted six months," and "How Bijan, hearing of the slaying of Yazdigird and of Mahuy 's accession to the throne, left with a host to fight with him."
Published Catalogue Text: In Harmony: The Norma Jean Calderwood Collection of Islamic Art , written 2013
Double page: The Burial of Yazdigird
A. Verso: text and illustration
Folio: 37 × 23.9 cm (14 9/16 × 9 7/16 in.)
B. Recto: text, with titles “How Mahuy was informed of Yazdigird’s death and ascended the throne” and “Mahuy’s consultation with the minister and his answer to him”
Folio: 36.7 × 23.7 cm (14 7/16 × 9 5/16 in.)
In Firdawsi’s epic, Yazdigird III (d. 651) was assassinated in a mill by order of Mahuy, the treacherous governor of Merv (see cat. 70). Two religious ascetics discovered the king’s body, stripped and thrown in a stream. Their fellow monks retrieved it, respectfully anointed it with wine, musk, camphor, and rosewater, clothed it in linen and gold brocade, and placed it in a lofty tomb.
The painting shows a priest blessing the open grave as Yazdigird’s coffin is carried into the mausoleum, followed by a crowd of mourners. The casket, with Yazdigird’s crown at the head, is wrapped in textile strips. In design and decoration, the tomb reflects sixteenth-century Central Asian and Iranian architectural interiors.
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), p. 234, cat. 91B, ill.
- Exhibition History
- Related Works
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