Title:A King Enthroned (left), A Shah Receiving an Embassy (right)Artist:Artist UnknownDate:1341Creation Place:Asia, IranCredit Line:Bequest of Mrs. Margaret McMillan Webber in memory of her mother, Katherine...Accession Number:51.37.22
Before the break-up of Mongol rule in Iran during the fourteenth century, the production of fine manuscripts temporarily ceased. Of the twenty or so surviving works from this interim period, the majority illustrates the Shah Nama, or Book of Kings. Completed by the poet Firdawsi around 1010, the work quickly became a Persian national epic and was copied and illustrated for centuries after. Moral and didactic in nature, the verse would have reasserted Persian cultural values during a time of foreign domination. These two large leaves illustrate King Bahram Chubina enthroned (right) and a shah receiving an embassy (left). Typical of the unsettled era, they are somewhat sketchy and primitive relative to later Persian paintings. The physiognomies of the people and the robes and textiles of the court reflect a certain Mongolian influence.