No. 81     Rudabeh lets her hair down to Zal

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Ferdowsi, Shahnameh
Safavid: Esfahan style, 1630s

Opaque watercolour, ink and gold on paper

London, British Library, MS I. O. Islamic 1256, fol. 42v


Zal and Rudabeh fell in love before they met. Rudabeh’s maidens suggested to Zal that he should scale the castle where she lived. Rudabeh let down her hair to help him ascend. Zal kissed her tresses and used his lasso instead. Rudabeh took him to her pavilion where they could plight their troth. Though the action should take place at night, the artist presents an airy day-time scene. Rudabeh and her maidens look fondly down on Zal. This may be an early work by the painter Mo‘in Mosavver (see Nos. 82 and 84).


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