recto Photo © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Identification and Creation
Object Number
2002.50.10
Title
Buzurgmihr Counsels Anushirvan (painting, recto; text, verso), folio from a manuscript of the Shahnama by Firdawsi
Classification
Manuscripts
Work Type
manuscript folio
Date
second half of the 16th century
Places
Creation Place: Middle East, Iran
Period
Safavid period
Culture
Persian
Persistent Link
https://hvrd.art/o/149405
Physical Descriptions
Medium
Ink, opaque watercolor and gold on paper
Dimensions
34.1 x 22.3 cm (13 7/16 x 8 3/4 in.)
Provenance
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
2002
Object Number
2002.50.10
Division
Asian and Mediterranean Art
Contact
am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu
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Descriptions
Description
Firdawsi’s text here relates an exchange between the Sasanian ruler Khusraw Anushirvan (d. 578) and his vizier Buzurgmihr. Invited to join Anushirvan’s court after interpreting a dream of the king, the young Buzurgmihr became a trusted royal vizier, famous for his intelligence and wisdom. When an Indian envoy brought the game of chess to court to test the Iranians’ intelligence, it was Buzurgmihr who solved the mystery of how to play the game and in response invented backgammon.
In the illustration, an enthroned Khusraw Anushirvan has gathered his advisors and ministers. Buzurgmihr has come forward; in the center of the composition, he kneels before the gesturing Anushirvan and writes his advice for the king. To the right, behind Buzurgmihr, the others are engaged in lively discussion.

Recto. Text tells the story of Buzurgmihr counseling Nushirvan. Text corresponds with M. Ramazani (1963) vol. 4, pp. 470-71, lines 11208-11238. Ramazani subtitle reads, "Buzurgmihr counsels Nushirvan." Text corresponds with J. Mohl (1976), vol. 6, pp. 364-68, lines 2464-2494.

Verso. Text continues the story of Buzurgmihr counseling Nushirvan . Text corresponds with M. Ramazani (1963) vol. 4, pp.472-73, lines 11239-11284. Text corresponds with J. Mohl (1976), vol.6, pp. 368-70, lines 2495-2540.

Published Catalogue Text: In Harmony: The Norma Jean Calderwood Collection of Islamic Art , written 2013
67

Buzurgmihr Counsels Anushirvan
Recto: text and illustration
Verso: text
Safavid period, second half 16th century
Folio: 34.1 × 22.3 cm (13 7/16 × 8 3/4 in.)
2002.50.10

Firdawsi’s text here relates an exchange between the Sasanian ruler Khusraw Anushirvan (d. 578) and his vizier
Buzurgmihr. Invited to join Anushirvan’s court after interpreting a dream of the king, the young Buzurgmihr became a trusted royal vizier, famous for his intelligence and wisdom. When an Indian envoy brought the game of chess to court to test the Iranians’ intelligence, it was Buzurgmihr who solved the mystery of how to play the game and in response invented backgammon.

In the illustration, an enthroned Khusraw Anushirvan has gathered his advisors and ministers. Buzurgmihr has come forward; in the center of the composition, he kneels before the gesturing Anushirvan and writes his advice for the king. To the right, behind Buzurgmihr, the others are engaged in lively discussion.

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. 219, cat. 67, ill.

Exhibition History

In Harmony: The Norma Jean Calderwood Collection of Islamic Art, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 01/31/2013 - 06/01/2013

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 am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu