The Shahnama, The Book of Kings, was written in the eleventh century by the Persian poet Firdausi. It extols the valor of the ancient kings of Iran. The richly colored painting here depicts the historic hero Ardashir (on the right) as he battles Bahman (on the left), the son of his enemy, for the crown of Persia.

This copy of the Shahnama was probably commissioned between 1335 and 1336 by the Vizier (prime minister) Ghiyath al-Din in the Mongol capital city of Tabriz. Persian painting was born there, with the development of a Mongol style influenced by the Baghdad school and Chinese art. The Persian aesthetic integrates a sense of drama with an expanded use of color.
Artist Islamic, Iranian
Title
  • Folio from the Great Mongol Shahnama: Ardashir Battles Bahman, Son of Ardavan
Date ca. 1335
Medium Ink and gold on paper
Dimensions Image: 6 3/4 × 11 1/2 inches (17.1 × 29.2 cm)
Sheet: 23 1/4 × 15 1/4 inches (59.1 × 38.7 cm)
Credit Line Founders Society Purchase, Edsel B. Ford Fund
Accession Number 35.54
Department Islamic Art
Not On View
(Dikran G. Kelekian [1868-1951], New York, New York, USA);
1935-present, purchase by the Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit, Michigan, USA)
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