recto © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Identification and Creation
Object Number
2002.50.41
Title
The Death of Luhrasp in Battle against the Forces of Arjasp (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/165394
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 1997], sold; to Stanford and Norma Jean Calderwood, Belmont, MA (by 1997-2002), 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
2002.50.41
Division
Asian and Mediterranean Art
Contact
am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu
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Descriptions
Description
Luhrasp, Kay Khusraw’s successor as king of Iran, ceded the throne to his son Gushtasp and became a Zoroastrian devotee in the city of Balkh. But when the new Turanian king, Arjasp, ordered his son Kuhram to lead the Turanians against Iran, the elderly former king met them in battle and was slain.
According to the text, Luhrasp fends off individual attackers and is killed only when surrounded by his foes. Not until they remove the fallen warrior’s helmet and see his white hair do the Turanians realize that he is an old man. The artist has composed this scene symmetrically, crowding the background with two groups of warriors who proudly fly their banners and sound their trumpets.

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

Double page: The Death of Luhrasp in Battle against the Forces of Arjasp
A. Verso: text, with title “Kuhram comes to Balkh with the king”
Folio: 37 × 24 cm (14 9/16 × 9 7/16 in.)
2002.50.133
B. Recto: text and illustration
Folio: 37.2 × 24.1 cm (14 5/8 × 9 1/2 in.)
2002.50.41

Luhrasp, Kay Khusraw’s successor as king of Iran, ceded the throne to his son Gushtasp and became a Zoroastrian devotee in the city of Balkh. But when the new Turanian king, Arjasp, ordered his son Kuhram to lead the Turanians against Iran, the elderly former king met them in battle and was slain.

According to the text, Luhrasp fends off individual attackers and is killed only when surrounded by his foes. Not until they remove the fallen warrior’s helmet and see his white hair do the Turanians realize that he is an old man. The artist has composed this scene symmetrically, crowding the background with two groups of warriors who proudly fly their banners and sound their trumpets.

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. 232, cat. 87 A-B, ill.

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