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No. 5     Faridun mourns over the head of Iraj

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Ferdowsi, Shahnameh
Turkman: Shiraz, 4 July 1486
Scribe:  Ghiyas al-Din b. Bayazid sarraf (banker)

Opaque watercolour, ink and gold on paper

London, British Library, MS Add. 18188, vol. I, fol. 55v

 

King Faridun divided his lands among his three sons. Salm received Rum (the East Roman world), Tur Turan (Central Asia) and Iraj the best part of the kingdom, Iran. The envious brothers murdered Iraj and sent his head to Faridun, provoking centuries-long wars between Iran and Turan. Here, we see Faridun grieving over Iraj’s head in his beloved son’s garden. Beside Faridun, two cypress trees, symbolic of youth and grace, are embraced by a flowering prunus.

 

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