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|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|
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