verso © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Identification and Creation
Object Number
2002.50.162
Title
Story of How Garsivaz is Tortured to Capture Afrasiyab (text, recto and 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/146630
Physical Descriptions
Medium
Ink, opaque watercolor and gold on paper
Dimensions
37.2 x 24.1 cm (14 5/8 x 9 1/2 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
2002.50.162
Division
Asian and Mediterranean Art
Contact
am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu
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Descriptions
Description
Text folio with title “Kay Khusraw asks about Garsivaz”

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

Double page: The Execution of Afrasiyab
A. Verso: text, with title “Kay Khusraw asks about Garsivaz”
Folio: 37.2 × 24.1 cm (14 5/8 × 9 1/2 in.)
2002.50.162
B. Recto: text and illustration, with title “The execution of Afrasiyab before Kay Khusraw”
Folio: 37.2 × 23.8 cm (14 5/8 × 9 3/8 in.)
2002.50.161

The Turanians were at last defeated in battle, but their king, Afrasiyab, escaped. Eventually Hum, a recluse, discovered Afrasiyab hiding in a cave in the mountains and brought him to Kay Khusraw. In revenge for Siyavush’s murder, the Iranian king put Afrasiyab to death in the same manner, beheading him with a sword and collecting his blood in a basin. Afrasiyab’s brother Garsivaz, who had been present at Siyavush’s execution, was also put to death.

The illustration shows the beheading of the old Turanian king, witnessed rather than performed by Kay Khusraw, who sits on a throne surrounded by his retinue. Afrasiyab’s severed head rolls leftward off the carpet. In another departure from the text, the artist has omitted the basin used to catch Afrasiyab’s blood.

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)

Exhibition History

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