Ilkhanid Illustration
Bizhan Slaughters the Wild Boars of Irman
from the 1341 Inju Shahnama, Shiraz


A larger image of Bizhan Slaughters the Wild Boars of Irman. 1341 Shahnama - Inju Dynasty, Shiraz.


"Bizhan Slaughters the Wild Boars of Irman", Folio from a Shahnama (Book of Kings)
Author: Abu'l Qasim Firdausi (935–1020)
Calligrapher: Hasan ibn Muhammad ibn `Ali ibn (?) Husaini, known as al-Mausili
Patron: Commissioned by al-Hasan Qawam al-Daula wa'l-Din (ca. 1303–57)
Object Name: Folio from an illustrated manuscript
Date: dated A.H. 741/A.D. 1341
Geography: Made in Iran, Shiraz
Medium: Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper
Dimensions: Painting: H. 3 1/2 in. (8.9 cm)
    W. 9 7/16 in. (24 cm)
    Page: H. 14 3/8 in. (36.5 cm)
    W. 11 15/16 in. (30.3 cm)
    Mat: H. 22 in. (55.9 cm)
    W. 16 in. (40.6 cm)
Classification: Codices
Accession Number: 29.160.22
Source: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.



11                           fig. 265
Bizhan Slaughters the Wild Boars of Irman
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Gift of Horace Havemeyer, 1929 (29.160.22)

The shah Kaikhusrau sent Bizhan, one of his champions, to help the Armenians eliminate the wild boars—“in numbers numberless, with tusks like elephants’, and big as hills”1—that were wreaking havoc on crops and cattle. Single-handedly Bizhan freed the land of these dangerous animals, first with his bow and arrow, then with his sword.
    The illustration is true to the narrative, which tells of Bizhan pursuing the boars until they charged him in the final moments of the fight.2 The Iranian champion looks powerful in his armor, his body as well as that of his horse driven forward as if in full motion. The oncoming boars, however, do not seem especially strong or menacing, diminishing the sense of Bizhan’s daunting task as a heroic mission. Such naïveté is common in Injuid illustrations and distinguishes them from Ilkhanid painting.

1. Firdausi 1905—25, vol. 3 (1908), p. 290, vv. 1070-71.
2. Swietochowski and Carboni 1994, p. 76, fig. 22.
Source: The Legacy of Genghis Khan Courtly Art and Culture in Western Asia 1256-1353



New York , Metropolitan Museum of Art
Manuscript: 29.160.21-22, 36.113.1-3, 57.51.35-36
Accession Number: 29.160.22
Chapter 13e - Bizhan and Manizha
Scene: Bizhan slaughters the wild boar
Dimensions (h x w): 75 x 238 mm
Format: Rectangular within borders
Reconstructed Folio: 118v
Hijri Date: 741 Dhu'l-Qa'da 20
Gregorian Date: 1341 May 14
School: Shiraz
Source: Shahnama Project


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