Iskandar's Iron Cavalry Battles King Fur Of Hind (Text, Recto; Painting, Verso), Illustrated Folio From A Manuscript Of The Great Ilkhanid Shahnama (Book Of Kings)
© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Identification and Creation
Object Number
Iskandar's Iron Cavalry Battles King Fur of Hind (text, recto; painting, verso), illustrated folio from a manuscript of the Great Ilkhanid Shahnama (Book of Kings)
Work Type
manuscript folio
c. 1330-1340
Creation Place: Middle East, Iran, Tabriz
Ilkhanid period
Physical Descriptions
Ink, opaque watercolor, gold, and silver on paper
folio: 50.2 x 39.5 cm (19 3/4 x 15 9/16 in.)
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Edward W. Forbes
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art
Recto: Text: 31 lines of naskhi in 6 columns, including one heading:
"Iskandar's letter to the Fur of Hind" (reserved against a ground of red hatching with blue dots.)
Verso: Text: 10 lines of naskhi in 6 columns, including one picture caption
"Iskandar battling with the Fur of Hind and Picture of the Iron Horses and Soldiers" (reserved against a ground of faint red spirals and blue dots)
Written in lower margin: "Alexander"
Publication History

Doris Brian, "A Reconstruction of the Miniature Cycle in the Demotte 'Shah-Nameh'", Ars Islamica, Freer Gallery of Art / Smithsonian Institution and University of Michigan (1 January 1939), vol. 6(2), pp. 97-112, no. 30

Laurence Binyon and J. V. S. Wilkinson, Persian Miniature Painting: Including a Critical and Descriptive Catalogue of the Miniatures Exhibited at Burlington House, January-March, 1931, exh. cat., Oxford University Press (NY) and Oxford University Press (UK) (London, England, 1933), fig. plate XXVI

C.F. Kelley, "Persian and Indian Miniature Painting", Bulletin of the Art Institute of Chicago, The Art Institute of Chicago (Chicago, IL, 1933), vol. XXVII, fig. pp. 46

M.H. de Young Memorial Museum, Exhibition of Islamic Art, exh. cat. (San Francisco, 1937), p. 28, no. 42e

Eric Schroeder, Persian Miniatures in the Fogg Museum of Art, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA, 1942), pp. 46-48, fig. 6

Ivan Stchoukine, Les peintures du Shan-nameh Demotte, Arts Asiatiques (1958), vol. V, pp. 83-96, pp. 91, 95, group III

Basil Gray, La Peinture Persane, Skira (Geneve, 1961)

Basil Gray, Persian Painting, Skira (New York, NY, 1977), pp. 29, 33-34

Maurice Daumas, A History of Technology and Invention: Progress through the Ages, Crown Publishers Inc. (New York, 1979), P. 367, Plate 54

Marianna Shreve Simpson, Arab and Persian Painting in the Fogg Art Museum, Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, 1980), pp. 23, 26-27, no. 5, ill.

Oleg Grabar and Sheila Blair, Epic Images and Contemporary History, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL, 1980), page 30, 116-117/figure 30

Johann Christoph Burgel, The Feather of Simurgh: The "Licity Magic" of the Arts in Medieval Islam, New York University Press (New York, NY, 1988), page 175/figure 17

Abolala Soudavar, "The Saga of Abu-Sa'id Bahador Khan: The Abu-Sa'idname", Oxford Studies In Islamic Art XII: The Court of the Il-Khans 1290-1340, Oxford University Press (NY) (Oxford, UK, 1996), page 134/figure 29

Al-Qafilah, Al-Qafilah, Altraiki Printing Press (Dammam, 1997), page 30

Markus Hattstein and Peter Delius, Islam Kunst und Architektur, Könemann Verlagsgesellschaft (France, 2000), Page 387 & 403

Linda Komaroff, ed., The Legacy of Genghis Khan: Courtly Art and Culture in Western Asia, 1256-1353, exh. cat., Yale University Press (U.S.) (New Haven, CT, 2002), pp135, fig. 160; pp256, num.48

Stephan Wolohojian, ed., Harvard Art Museum/ Handbook, Harvard Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, 2008), p. 50

"The Rise of Islam", Harvard Magazine (May-June 1979), 99, 5, pp. 22-28, Pg. 25

Exhibition History

Arab and Persian Painting, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 02/10/1981 - 03/09/1981

The Heavenly Court: Persian Poetry and Painting, Harvard University Art Museums, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 02/09/1985 - 03/31/1985

Paintings for Princes: The Art of the Book in Islam, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 01/27/1990 - 03/25/1990

Eyes to the East: Indian, Persian, and Turkish Art Given by Harvard Graduates, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 09/22/1990 - 11/25/1990

In Detail: Looking at Persian, Turkish and Indian Pictures, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/11/1995 - 01/21/1996

Legacy of Genghis Khan: Courtly Art and Culture 1256-1353 (The), The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 10/28/2002 - 02/16/2003; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, 04/13/2003 - 07/27/2003

Re-View: S231 (Islamic rotation: 5) Heroic Gestes: Epic Tales from Firdawsi's Shahnama, Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 06/18/2010 - 11/27/2010

Word and Image in Persian Painting, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 01/31/2013 - 03/30/2013

Subjects and Contexts

Collection Highlights

Artstor Digital Library

Google Art Project

Verification Level

3 - Good. Object is well described and information is vetted