Miniature from a copy of Firdawsi’s Shahnama. “The Battle Between Kay Khusraw and the King of Makran”
Iran, Lahijan; 1494
Leaf: 34.5 × 24.5 cm
Within the colorful Turkmen painting done in western Iran in the 15th century, the “Big Head _Shahnama_” is in a class of its own. Its name comes from the unusually monumental rendition of the figures in many of the miniatures, like this one. In addition, the scenes are exceptionally colorful and dynamic.
The manuscript was commissioned by Karkia Mirza Ali, a minor prince in the province of Gilan, south of the Caspian Sea. He made a name for himself in history by protecting the young Ismail, who was to found the Safavid dynasty a decade later.
Inv. no. 22/1979
Jean Soustiel: Objets d'art de l'Islam – 2. Présentation d'un ensemble d'objets d'art musulman appartenant à Joseph Soustiel à Paris, 88 rue de Miromesnil, du 25 oct. au 8 nov. 1974, Paris 1974, cat.no. 13 and p. 23;
Art from the World of Islam. 8th-18th century, Louisiana, Humlebæk 1987, cat.no. 186;
Kjeld von Folsach: Islamic art. The David Collection, Copenhagen 1990, cat.no. 23;
Joan Sureda i Pors (ed.): Art and culture around 1492 : 1992 Seville Universal Exposition, Cartuja de Santa María de las Cuevas, Sevilla 1992, cat.no. 46;
Kjeld von Folsach, Torben Lundbæk and Peder Mortensen (eds.): Sultan, Shah and Great Mughal: the history and culture of the Islamic world, The National Museum, Copenhagenn 1996, cat.no. 152;
Kjeld von Folsach: Art from the World of Islam in The David Collection, Copenhagen 2001, cat.no. 31;
Kjeld von Folsach: For the Privileged Few: Islamic Miniature Painting from The David Collection, Louisiana, Humlebæk 2007, cat.no. 24;
Joachim Meyer and Peter Wandel: Shahnama: the Colorful Epic About Iran’s Past, David Collection, Copenhagen 2016, cat.nr. 35;