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No. 80     Rostam rescues Bizhan from the pit

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Ferdowsi, Shahnameh
Safavid: Esfahan, May 1628
Scribe: Nezam b. Mir ‘Ali

Opaque watercolour, ink and gold on paper

London, British Library, MS Add. 27258, fol. 257v

 

As in No. 52, Manizheh has guided Rostam to the pit where her lover Bizhan is imprisoned. Rostam is about to let down his lasso for the rescue. The period when this manuscript was made witnessed a considerable production of single-figure studies of fashionable people. The curving posture of Manizheh and the companion nearest to Rostam show the influence of such studies. Their impact is also felt in the soft rendering of trees and rocks. By contrast, the bold pink background, signalling intense drama, originated in manuscript illustration.

 

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