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No. 79     Bahram Chubineh kills Saveh Shah


Ferdowsi, Shahnameh
Safavid: Astarabad or Esfahan, July 1643
Scribe: Hajji Mohammad b. Nur al-Din Mohammad Dasht-e Bayazi
Patron: Mirza Mohammad Taher Beg

Opaque watercolour, ink and gold on paper

Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, MS Or. 202, fol. 252r


In the Sasanian period, Hormozd of Iran was concerned by the threat posed by Saveh, the Turkish ruler of Herat. Through a prophecy, he was led to Bahram Chubineh, a lord willing and able to lead the army against Saveh. Bahram Chubineh routed the much larger Turkish force. Saveh took to flight, but Bahram shot him in the back. Here, Saveh is shown facing his opponent, rather than fleeing, but he has clearly met his fate. The rearing of the horses, slightly out of phase with the rocky horizon that rises and falls like waves behind them, emphasizes the vigorous action.



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