recto © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Identification and Creation
Object Number
2002.50.14
Title
Bahram Chubina Slays Kut of Rum (painting, recto; text, verso), folio from a manuscript of the Shahnama by Firdawsi
Classification
Manuscripts
Work Type
manuscript folio
Date
1575-1590
Places
Creation Place: Middle East, Iran, Shiraz
Period
Safavid period
Culture
Persian
Persistent Link
https://hvrd.art/o/149260
Physical Descriptions
Medium
Ink, opaque watercolor and gold on paper
Dimensions
42.5 x 28.2 cm (16 3/4 x 11 1/8 in.)
Provenance
[Mansour Gallery, London, by 1990 or 1992], sold; to Stanford and Norma Jean Calderwood, Belmont, MA (1990 or 1992 - 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
2002.50.14
Division
Asian and Mediterranean Art
Contact
am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu
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Descriptions
Description
The Iranian military commander Bahram Chubina had rebelled against his king, Hurmuzd; forced Hurmuzd’s son and rightful heir, Khusraw Parviz, to flee to Rum; and usurped the throne. When Khusraw returned to Iran with reinforcements from the Byzantine emperor, Bahram gathered his army and prepared to do battle against him. One brave Byzantine, Kut of Rum, volunteered to ride to Bahram’s camp and challenge him to single combat. Khusraw and the rest of his men watched the ensuing contest from a mountaintop.
The illustration shows the climax of the episode, when Bahram Chubina cleaves Kut’s chest with his sword. The pair battle in a rocky landscape, surrounded by warriors, banging kettledrums, and blaring horns. Soldiers just below the upper text box wear long, drooping headgear similar to that of Ottoman Janissaries, which probably identifies them as the Byzantine soldiers mentioned in Firdawsi’s text.


Recto. Text corresponds with Ramazani (1963) vol. 5, p. 155, lines 3795-3804. Ramazani's subtitle for this section reads, "Battle between Khusraw and Bahram Chubina and the death of Kut Rumi."

Verso. Text corresponds with Ramazani (1963), vol 5, pp. 155-57, lines 3805-3852. Subtitle reads, "Battle between Bahram Chubina and the Iranians."

Published Catalogue Text: In Harmony: The Norma Jean Calderwood Collection of Islamic Art , written 2013
101

Bahram Chubina Slays Kut of Rum
Recto: text and illustration
Verso: text, with title “Battle between Bahram Chubina and the Iranians”
Folio: 42.5 × 28.2 cm (16 3/4 × 11 1/8 in.)
2002.50.14

The Iranian military commander Bahram Chubina had rebelled against his king, Hurmuzd; forced Hurmuzd’s son and rightful heir, Khusraw Parviz, to flee to Rum; and usurped the throne. When Khusraw returned to Iran with reinforcements from the Byzantine emperor, Bahram gathered his army and prepared to do battle against him. One brave Byzantine, Kut of Rum, volunteered to ride to Bahram’s camp and challenge him to single combat. Khusraw and the rest of his men watched the ensuing contest from a mountaintop.

The illustration shows the climax of the episode, when Bahram Chubina cleaves Kut’s chest with his sword. The pair battle in a rocky landscape, surrounded by warriors, banging kettledrums, and blaring horns. Soldiers just below the upper text box wear long, drooping headgear similar to that of Ottoman Janissaries, which probably identifies them as the Byzantine soldiers mentioned in Firdawsi’s text.

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), p. 92, ill.; p. 241, cat. 101, ill.

Exhibition History

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

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