Sam On Mount Alburz

fine art facsimile leave from Shah-nama, the Book of Kings for Shah Tahmasp
Provenance: Tabriz (Iranian Azerbaijan), around 1520–40
Library: Berlin State Museums, Museum of Islamic Art , call number Inv. Nr. 1.5/77, fol. 63r


This magnificent miniature shows a scene from the great national epic of Iran, the Shahnama, the Book of Kings. The verses in Persian explain the scene depicted on this page: Prince Sam and four of his riders arrive at the insurmountable hillside of the mountain Alburz on top of which Zal with his white hair is debating with Simurgh, a flying creature in Iranian mythology. Sam had abandonned his son Zal as he was born with white hair on this mountain where Simurgh took him up, but Sam was racked by remorse and came back to recover his son. This tale belongs to the world-famous epic poem created by the Persian national poet, Ferdowsi, between 982 and 1014.
The Shahnama of Shah Tahmasp (r. 1524–76) is probably the most luxurious copy of Ferdowsi’s epic ever produced in the history of Persian painting, with gold-sprinkled borders and lavish illuminations.

Weight 0.5 kg
Dimensions 47 × 31 cm


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