- Identification and Creation
- Object Number
- Episodes from the Story of Siyavush (text, recto and verso), folio from a manuscript of the Shahnama by Firdawsi
- Work Type
- manuscript folio
- late 16th century to early 17th century
- Creation Place: Middle East, Iran, Isfahan
- Safavid period
- Persistent Link
- Physical Descriptions
- Ink, opaque watercolor and gold on paper
- 34 x 21.5 cm (13 3/8 x 8 7/16 in.)
- [Hadji Baba Ancient Art, London, 1985], sold; to Stanford and Norma Jean Calderwood, Belmont, MA (1985-2002), 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
- Object Number
- Asian and Mediterranean Art
- The Harvard Art Museums encourage the use of images found on this website for personal, noncommercial use, including educational and scholarly purposes. To request a higher resolution file of this image, please submit an online request.
- Recto. Text describes Sudaba deceiving Kay Kavus, and Sudaba finding a reason to kill Siyavush.
Verso. Text describes Kay Kavus asking an astrologer about his children.
Published Catalogue Text: In Harmony: The Norma Jean Calderwood Collection of Islamic Art , written 2013
Double page: The Trial by Fire of Siyavush
A. Verso: text and illustration
Folio: 34 × 21.4 cm (13 3/8 × 8 7/16 in.)
B. Recto: text
Folio: 34 × 21.5 cm (13 3/8 × 8 7/16 in.)
The depiction of Prince Siyavush’s test by fire is here confined to a single page, rather than spread over two as in cat. 96 A–B. The scene is therefore predictably condensed, with Siyavush shown galloping into the fire while his father, also mounted, watches anxiously from the forecourt of his nearby palace. Peering from the window above is the would-be seductress, Sudaba, who gestures toward Siyavush. The handsome prince, his black mount, and the towering golden flames that engulf them are here closer to the center of the composition.
Although hairstyles and headgear differ, the two versions of this scene in the Calderwood Collection feature similar architectural decoration. Furthermore, the compositional elements that they share irrespective of format suggest the existence of an established iconographic convention for illustrating this episode of the Shāhnāma.
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. 249, cat. 114 A-B, ill.
- Exhibition History
The Art of Storytelling: Five Tales from Asia, Then and Now, Middlebury College Museum of Art, Middlebury, 09/08/2015 - 12/13/2015
- 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 email@example.com