‘The Death of King Mirdas’, Folio 25 from the Shahnamah of Shah Tahmasp

ink, gold and opaque watercolour on paper; margins heavily sprinkled with gold

text copied in a superior nasta‘liq script, with 22 lines to the page, arranged in 4 columns, two to a couplet; heading (on the recto) in riqa‘

47 x 31.6cm (folio); 27 x 17.1cm (written surface, recto); 23.3 x 17.5cm (illustration, verso)

Mirdas, the king of Arabia Deserta, falls into a deep pit, breaks his back and dies. The pit had been dug by the devil Iblis, who had plotted with the king’s ambitious son, Zahhak, to murder Mirdas. 

[For the Shahnamah of Shah Tahmasp, see MSS 1030]

J.M. Rogers, The Arts of Islam. Masterpieces from the Khalili Collection, London 2010, cat.299, p.262.