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No. 36     Sohrab slain by Rostam

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Ferdowsi, Shahnameh
Timurid: Shiraz, c.1430
Patron: Ebrahim Soltan b. Shah Rokh
Illuminator: Nasr al-Soltani

Opaque watercolours, ink and gold on paper

Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Ouseley Add. 176, fol. 92r

 

This image illustrates one of the most famous and tragic episodes in the Shahnameh. Unaware of his opponent’s identity, Rostam kills his son Sohrab. Tahmineh’s son had grown up knowing that Rostam was his father, but the two have never met until they found themselves fighting on opposing sides in a battle between Iran and Turan. With matching stubbornness they refused to reveal their identity to each other. Rostam delivered a deadly blow, but on opening Sohrab’s clothing he found the jewel that he had given to Tahmineh for their child.

Together with Nos. 33, 34, 35, 38 and 39, this illustration belonged to a splendid copy of the Shahnameh commissioned by Timur’s grandson, Ebrahim Soltan (1394–1435), son of Shah Rokh, c.1430.

 

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