recto © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Identification and Creation
Object Number
2002.50.153
Title
Guruy Executes Siyavush (painting, recto; text, verso), folio from a manuscript of the Shahnama by Firdawsi
Classification
Manuscripts
Work Type
manuscript folio
Date
1562
Places
Creation Place: Middle East, Iran, Shiraz
Period
Safavid period
Culture
Persian
Persistent Link
https://hvrd.art/o/146582
Physical Descriptions
Medium
Ink, opaque watercolor and gold on paper
Dimensions
37.3 x 24 cm (14 11/16 x 9 7/16 in.)
Provenance
[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
2002
Object Number
2002.50.153
Division
Asian and Mediterranean Art
Contact
am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu
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Descriptions
Description
Succumbing to his own foreboding and the envy of his courtiers toward Siyavush, Afrasiyab eventually ordered the execution of the Iranian prince whom he had welcomed into his family. Happy to oblige the monarch, jealous Guruy cut the prince’s throat, catching his blood in a golden basin. Siyavush met death bravely, knowing that his wife Farangis would soon give birth to a son, Kay Khusraw, who would unite the lands of Turan and Iran under one crown.
While the text indicates that the execution took place in a wasteland outside Siyavush’s capital city, the illustration sets the scene within the confines of a palace crowded with figures, including an enthroned Afrasiyab, court officials, and Farangis, who is being seized as a captive. The illustration shows the dramatic moment when Siyavush’s blood gushes forth into the basin.

Published Catalogue Text: In Harmony: The Norma Jean Calderwood Collection of Islamic Art , written 2013
82 A-B

Double page: Guruy Executes Siyavush
A. Verso: text, concerning Farangis
Folio: 37.2 × 23.9 cm (14 5/8 × 9 7/16 in.)
2002.50.154
B. Recto: text and illustration
Folio: 37.3 × 24 cm (14 11/16 × 9 7/16 in.)
2002.50.153

Succumbing to his own foreboding and the envy of his courtiers toward Siyavush, Afrasiyab eventually ordered the execution of the Iranian prince whom he had welcomed into his family. Happy to oblige the monarch, jealous Guruy cut the prince’s throat, catching his blood in a golden basin. Siyavush met death bravely, knowing that his wife Farangis would soon give birth to a son, Kay Khusraw, who would unite the lands of Turan and Iran under one crown.

While the text indicates that the execution took place in a wasteland outside Siyavush’s capital city, the illustration sets the scene within the confines of a palace crowded with figures, including an enthroned Afrasiyab, court officials, and Farangis, who is being seized as a captive. The illustration shows the dramatic moment when Siyavush’s blood gushes forth into the basin.

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), pp. 85-86, ill.; p. 228, cat. 82 A-B, 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

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

Related Works

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