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|Miniatures, Gouache, 23.7x13.7 cm|
|Origin: Iran, 1431-1431, Timurid Dynasty|
This is one of the 13 miniatures illustrating the poem Layla and Majnun 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 .
The tale of this couple who loved each other from childhood, the beautiful Layla and the passionate Majnun, appeared in Arabia and then spread throughout the Moslem East. Nizami was the author of the first literary version of this legend.
Learning of the death of his beloved Layla, Majnun comes to her grave and tenderly embraces the tomb, crying and praying to Allah to unite him with his beloved. "Take me, oh creator of all earthly creations, free my soul from suffering, unite me with my beloved wife and resurrect me by exile to another world." Thus he spake, and ceased to breathe. The artist shows the thin, half-naked figure of Majnun spread across Layla's tomb beneath a beautiful flowering tree, with curious lions peeping from behind the fence.
|Album: The Khamsa by Nizami|
|Source of entry: First Branch of the State Hermitage Museum, 1924|
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