The Shahnama of Shah Tahmasp I

Kay Khusraw Welcomed by his Grandfather, Kay Kaus, King of Iran


A larger image of Kay Khusraw Welcomed by his Grandfather, Kay Kaus, King of Iran - Shahnama of Shah Tahmasp I

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Miniature from a copy of Firdawsi’s Shahnama. “Kay Khusraw Welcomed by his Grandfather, Kay Kaus, King of Iran”
Iran, Tabriz; between 1520 and 1535
Miniature: 27 × 20 cm

The David Collection owns three miniatures from the copy of the Shahnama that was commissioned by Shah Ismail and his son, Shah Tahmasp. The volume was dispersed in 1970, and most of it is now divided between the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art. With its 258 miniatures painted by the court studio’s finest artists, the book is considered the finest Safavid manuscript ever produced.

The scene is enacted at the court of Kay Kaus. He is seated on his throne together with his grandson, Kay Khusraw, who has just returned from Turan, where he grew up in secrecy after his father, good Prince Siyawush, was killed.

The courtiers are depicted individually and wear contemporary dress. Nothing was done to historicize the scene. Although the painting does indicate a room with perspective, it is very two-dimensional. The brilliant colors are largely unmixed, the plants and especially the clouds are stylized, and the golden sky highlights the ideal world depicted by the Persian artist.

Inv. no. 30/1988
Source: The David Collection, Copenhagen, Denmark.

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