Illustration from the First Small Shahnama, c.1300 showing Ilkhanid Mongols
Iskandar kills the Abyssinian monster
Chapter 20 - Iskandar (14 years)

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Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Manuscript: 25.68.1, 34.24.1-6, 57.51.33, 69.74.1-9
Accession Number: 69.74.5
Dimensions (h x w): 54 x 124 mm
Title of Work: Shahnama (First Small)
Reconstructed Folio: 202r
Gregorian Date: 1300 (circa)
School: Baghdad
Source: Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
The leader of a pack of huge wolves encountered by Iskandar and his troops in Habash (Abyssinia) is described by the poet as having one dark horn on its head. The artist has depicted a long unicorn-like creature and has added flames from the shoulders. The strong decorative sense so inherent in Persian painting throughout its history remains paramount in this painting, in spite of the fearsome struggle taking place, or the appearance of such foreign elements as Mongol costumes and caps.

Back to the First Small Shahnama, c.1300, showing Ilkhanid Mongol Soldiers