- Identification and Creation
- Object Number
- Isfandiyar Captures Gurgsar in Combat (text, recto; painting, verso), illustrated folio from a manuscript of the Shahnama by Firdawsi
- Work Type
- manuscript folio
- c. 1340
- Creation Place: Middle East, Iran, Shiraz
- Inju period, 1303-1357
- Persistent Link
- Physical Descriptions
- Ink, opaque watercolor and gold on paper
- 37.1 x 29.3 cm (14 5/8 x 11 9/16 in.)
- 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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- Recto. Text tells the story of Isfandiyar seeing his brother and his arrival in the mountains near Gushtasp. Subtitles in the text of this folio read, "Arrival of Isfandiyar to converse with this father;" Arjasp is informed of the release of Isfandiyar." Text corresponds with M. Ramazani (1963) vol. 3, pp. 249-51, lines 5946-6035. Ramazani subtitle reads, "Isfandiyar arrives in the mountains near Gushtasp." Text corresponds with J. Mohl (1976), vol. 4, pp. 470-76, lines 1321-1405. Mohl subtitle reads, "Isfendiar arrive dans la montagne, auprès de Guschtasp."
Verso. Subtitles in the text of this folio read, "Battle between Arjasp and Isfandiyar;" "Capture of Gurgsar by Isfandiyar." Gurgsar is the name of a champion of Turan. Text corresponds with M. Ramazani (1963) vol. 3, pp. 253-56, lines 6036-6113. Ramazani subtitle reads, "Battle between Isfandiyar and Arjasp and the escape of Arjasp." Text corresponds with J. Mohl (1976), vol. 4, pp. 476-82, lines 1406-1468.
- Prince Isfandiyar, son of Shah Gushtasp, led the Iranian army to victory against the Turanians commanded by Gurgsar. The fight between the two champions ended when Isfandiyar caught Gurgsar in a lariat and pulled him to the ground. In its figural style, treatment of ground line, and shallow space, this fourteenth-century painting recalls the decorative conventions of Seljuk ceramics. The figures are arrayed symmetrically in a frieze format, and loosely drawn foliage fills the background.
Published Catalogue Text: In Harmony: The Norma Jean Calderwood Collection of Islamic Art , written 2013
Isfandiyar Captures Gurgsar in Combat
Folio from a manuscript of the Shāhnāma by Firdawsi
Verso: text and illustration, with titles “Battle between Arjasp and Isfandiyar” and “Capture of Gurgsar by Isfandiyar”
Iran, Shiraz, Inju period, 1341
Black ink, gold, and opaque watercolor on beige paper
Folio: 37.1 × 29.3 cm (14 5/8 × 11 9/16 in.)
Published: McWilliams 2002a, 14, fig. 7.
As related in Firdawsi’s Shāhnāma, the mighty Isfandiyar, son of King Gushtasp, led the Iranian army to victory against the Turanians, commanded by Gurgsar. The fight between the two champions ended when Isfandiyar lassoed Gurgsar and pulled him to the ground. In its figural style, treatment of ground line, and restricted space, this fourteenth-century painting recalls the aesthetic conventions of Iranian mīnāʾī and luster ceramics (see, for instance, cats. 27 and 30). The figures are arrayed symmetrically in a frieze, and loosely drawn foliage fills the background. This folio was part of a now-dispersed illustrated Shāhnāma commissioned in 1341 by the vizier of the Inju governor in Fars.
Mika M. Natif
 According to M. S. Simpson 2000, 241. Another folio from this manuscript, unlocated at the time of Simpson’s reconstruction, is currently in the Harvard Art Museums (2011.493).
- Publication History
Mary McWilliams, "With Quite Different Eyes: The Norma Jean Calderwood Collection of Islamic Art", Apollo, ed. David Ekserdjian (November 2002), vol. CLVI no. 490, pp. 12-16, p. 14, fig. 7
Mary McWilliams, ed., In Harmony: The Norma Jean Calderwood Collection of Islamic Art, exh. cat., Harvard Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 2013), p. 215, cat. 63, ill.
- Exhibition History
Closely Focused, Intensely Felt: Selections from the Norma Jean Calderwood Collection of Islamic Art, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 08/07/2004 - 01/02/2005
32Q: 2550 Islamic, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/08/2017 - 04/19/2018
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