Ilkhanid Illustration
Rustam Rescues Bijan (Bizhan) from the Well
from the 1341 Inju Shahnama, Shiraz


A larger image of Rustam Rescues Bijan from the Well. 1341 Shahnama - Inju Dynasty, Shiraz.


Folio from a Shahnama (Book of kings) by Firdawsi (died 1020); recto: text and illustration: Rustam rescues Bijan from the well; verso: text.
Detached folio from a dispersed copy of the Shahnama (Book of kings) by Firdawsi; text: Persian in black and red naskh script; illustration and text: Rustam rescues Bijan from the well, 6 columns, 21 lines; reverse: text, 6 columns, 30 lines; one of a group of 7 folios.

Historical period: Inju dynasty, Mongol period, February 1341 (Ramadan 741 A.H.)
Medium: Ink, opaque watercolor and gold on paper
Dimensions: H x W: 14.8 x 23.4 cm (5 13/16 x 9 3/16 in)
Geography: Iran, Shiraz
Accession Number: F1945.7
Classification: Manuscript
Type: Detached manuscript folio
Label: The story of the Persian hero Bizhan and the Turanian princess Manizha, the daughter of Afrasiyab, is a rare romantic interlude in the feuds between Iran and Turan in the Shahnama (Book of kings), the Persian national epic. When the Turanian tyrant Afrasiyab finds out about his daughter's love for Bizhan, he captures the youth and imprisons him in a well. This fourteenth-century illustration depicts the final episode in the romance, when Rustam comes to Bizhan's aid. According to Firdawsi, when Rustam's companions are unable to move the rock covering the well, "With a prayer to the creator to be granted strength, he [Rustam] stretched out his hand and without a moment's delay lifted the boulder, which he threw into the forest in the land of China, thus causing the whole surface of the earth to quake."
Source: Freer | Sackler

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