Miniatures

Bahram Gur in the Red Pavilion

Bahram Gur in the Red Pavilion
(click image to zoom-in)
Miniatures, Gouache, 23.7x13.7 cm
Origin: Iran, 1431-1431, Timurid Dynasty

This is one of the 9 miniatures illustrating the poem Haft Paikar in the Hermitage's famous Persian manuscript of the Khamsa, an anthology of five poems by the 12th-century poet Nizami, who lived on the territory of present-day Azerbaijan. In 1431 this manuscript of the Khamsawas copied out in Herat by the calligrapher Mahmud for Sultan Shahrukh , son of the legendary Tamerlaine .

The poem relates how Bahram Gur, Shah of Iran, married the daughters of the padishahs of seven lands. A fortress, Khavarnak, was built specially, with pavilions for each of the princesses. The colour of each of the pavilions accorded with a particular day of the week and with the planets protecting that day. Bahram Gur visited each of the seven pavilions in turn, where each of the princesses told him a magical story of love, symbolizing the passing of man's spirit through seven stages on the mystical path to God. Each tale ends with praise of the relative colour.

Nizami's text tells us that on Tuesday , Bahram Gur went to the Slavic princess, dressed all in red to visit the pavilion with the red cupola . Here the artist depicted him wearing lilac rather than red, although his hat is red. Each of the compositions showing the ruler's visits to the seven pavilions is very similar: Bahram Gur lies on cushions, with the princess seated at his feet and telling her tale, the differences lying in the colour. In the foreground of this scene is a selection of perfume jars, ewers and burning candles.

Album: The Khamsa by Nizami
Personage: Bahram Gur
Source of entry: First Branch of the State Hermitage Museum, 1924
School: Herat
Theme: Literature

See also

Arts of the Islamic World | Folio from a Khamsa (Quintet) by ...
Folio from a Khamsa (Quintet) by Nizami; recto: Bahram Gur and the Princess in the Red Pavilion; verso: text. circa 1560. Safavid dynasty ...
St. John's College - Library - Browne 1434
[Bahram Gur being entertained by the Russian Princess in the Red Pavilion, on Tuesday] 453. " 5t pall: blew. [Bahram Gur being entertained by the Princess ...
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The fifth-century king Bahram Gur, a renowned predecessor of Khusraw, is the subject of numerous ... His red pavilion features music on the kamenche alone. ...
JSTOR: Traditionalism or Forgery: A Note on Persian Lacquer Painting
Bahram Gur in the Green Pavilion. Fig. Io. Bahram Gur in the Red Pavilion. Fig. II. Bahram Gur in the Blue Pavilion. Fig. 12. Bahram Gur in the Sandalwood ...

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