Details
BAHMAN ENTHRONED AT COURT
SAFAVID SHIRAZ, CIRCA 1540-50
An illustration from the Shahnama of Firdawsi, opaque pigments heightened with gold on paper, Bahman sits enthroned at court with attendants, four columns of text in nasta'liq above and below within gold rules, the text to the reverse arranged in similar format, framed and glazed
Painting 7 7/8 x 5in. (20 x 12.7cm.); text panel 10 ½ x 5 5/8in. (26.5 x 14.2cm.); folio 15 1/8 x 9 ¾in. (38.4 x 24.9cm.)
Sale room notice
Please note that this painting comes from the incomplete Shahnama now in the Keir Collection on loan to Dallas Museum of Art, published in Islamic Art from the Keir Collection, London, 1988, entry nos.PP13-26.  The manuscript is dated to the end of Dhu'l Hijja, AH 945/May, AD 1539 and signed by Murshid al-Katib al-Shirazi.

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Lot Essay

The scene has been identified as Bahman had been on the throne for sixty years.

The arrangement of this folio bears several similarities to a folio from the renowned Shah Tahmasp Shahnama made in Tabriz, depicting Faridun’s mother Faranak sending gifts to her son, now in the Khalili Collection (MSS 1030.38). The central figure in our scene sits, like Faridun, leaning forward slightly with one leg outstretched, as if mirroring this posture. The three figures to the left in the present lot also recall those to the side of Faridun in the Shahnama folio. This is similarly depicted on another manuscript of the Shahnama produced in Tabriz in 1520-21 that sold in these Rooms, 10 April 2014, lot 14. The delicate facial forms and the very high turbans worn by the male figures in our manuscript are also typical qualities of the Tabriz school of painting.
These similarities may suggest that the artist of the present folio was trained in, or at least very familiar with, the early Tabriz painting style in the royal ateliers under Shah Tahmasp. As Shah Tahmasp’s political and religious concerns grew in the 1540s, his interest in the arts waned and his royal atelier was disbanded. Many highly trained artists practised their craft elsewhere, particularly in Shiraz, where this folio was produced.
A Shahnama dated AH 950/1543-44 AD which includes a comparable scene to the present lot is in the Topkapi Sarayi Museum, Istanbul, H1481.
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