Bahram Gur Hunting Accompanied by Fitneh

Bahram Gur Hunting Accompanied by Fitneh
(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 .

Bahram Gur, Shah of Iran, is shown out hunting with his beloved, the singer Fitneh. He seeks to amaze her with his skilful archery, carrying out her cruel caprice. In the two-line verses we read: "He let fly the arrow, fast as lightning, and with it pinned an onager's hoof to its ear". This is the moment we see before us. Bahram Gur has just released the bowstring. In the background is Fitneh herself, coming out from behind a hillock and playing the harp. Before Nizami, this same subject had been described by Firdawsi in his famous epic, the Shah-Nameh .

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

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