Miniatures

Farhad Carries Shirin and her Horse on his Shoulders

Farhad Carries Shirin and her Horse on his Shoulders
(click image to zoom-in)
Miniatures, Gouache, 23.7x13.7 cm
Origin: Iran, 1431-1431, Timurid Dynasty

This is one of the 12 miniatures illustrating the poem Khusraw and Shirin 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 Khamsa was copied out in Herat by the calligrapher Mahmud for Sultan Shahrukh , son of the legendary Tamerlaine .

Khusraw and Shirin is the first poem in the literature of the Near and Middle East in which man's personality is shown in all its rich variety. The subject for this poem came from the chronicles of ancient Iran. Nizami was drawn by the image of Shirin, "beauteous of face and morals", who remained faithful to her beloved husband, the last Shah of pre-Islamic Iran, Khusraw II . By the 9th century there was a whole cycle of legends about Shirin and Khusraw.

The third hero of the poem, the mason Farhad, a man of gigantic height and superhuman strength, is central to the story. Nizami contrasts the egoistic love of the changeable Khusraw, who bitterly disappoints Shirin, with the selfless love of Farhad, who is ready to give his life without demanding any return.

Farhad was a great craftsman and was ordered to lay a road between inaccessible hills. Inspired by his great love for Shirin, he carved into the face of the hill of Bisutun reliefs of Shirin and Shah Khusraw. Shirin came to see his work but she was tired after her long journey, almost fainting with weakness. Farhad carried her back to the castle: "The tired horse, on the spur of the moment, he raised from the ground, taking him by the mane."

Against a background of high multicoloured hills the artist shows the broad-shouldered giant Farhad stepping lightly with both the horse and rider on his shoulders. His swift movement is emphasized by the composition, which projects strongly out into the borders, a device used repeatedly in this particular manuscript of the Khamsa.

 

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

See also

JSTOR: Traditionalism or Forgery: A Note on Persian Lacquer Painting
Behind the king walks a man carrying a ceremonial axe over his shoulder. ..... The cartouche showing Shirin visiting Farhad at Mount Bisutun, too, ...
Farhad Shakely | International Journal of Kurdish Studies | Find ...
The small tinkling bells on the saddle of Time's horse come and pass by .... coasts Over the shoulders And runs away, untill She takes the hearts' longing, ...
Shaherezad in Santa Monica | Iranian.com
Once more I will read Khosrow Shirin with her .... Waiting to hear her name. Shaherezad:. "Majnun gave his horse to the hunter ...
From Berkeley: August 2007
When Shirin saw the completed canal, impressed with Farhad's art and his obvious love for her, she removed her earrings and gave them to Farhad as his ...

Site map

Albums Authors Countries Sources Epoches Exibitions Genres
Personages Schools Styles Techniques Themes Types Workshops

Image Use Policy

Unless otherwise noted, images this web site may be used for any purpose without prior permission.

Any material in the public domain found on this web site is not protected by copyright.

We make no representations or warranties with respect to ownership of copyrights in the images, and do not represent others who may claim to be authors or owners of copyright of any of the images, and make no warranties as to the quality of the images.

We shall not be responsible for any loss or expenses resulting from the use of the images, and you release and hold us harmless from all liability arising from such use.

We do not sell art prints, framed posters or reproductions. Ads are shown only to compensate the hosting expenses.