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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.
At bottom right are several lines of text: "Grasp the ring of the holy Kaaba and pray that the sufferings of love should depart from you". Majnun is shown wearing ritual white robes, holding the ring on the door of the Kaaba, surrounded by others performing a pilgrimage to Mecca. He had been brought to the Kaaba by his father in order to cure him of his love for Layla, who had been forbidden to marry him. But instead Majnun prayed to Allah to strengthen his passion and then he fled into the desert.
|Album: The Khamsa by Nizami|
|Source of entry: First Branch of the State Hermitage Museum, 1924|
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