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No. 93     Zal and Rudabeh entertained

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‘Owfi, Javami‘ al-Hekayat (‘Compendium of Tales’)
Sultanate India: probably October-November 1439

Opaque watercolour, ink and gold on paper

London, British Library, MS Or. 11676, fol. 46r

 

This collection of stories culled from the Shahnameh and from Islamic history was completed by ‘Owfi for al-Jonaydi, vizier to Iltotmesh, ruler of the Delhi Sultanate (1211–1236). The present passage offers a rapid précis of the story of Rostam’s parents, Zal and Rudabeh. Their depiction in a garden does not derive directly from the Shahnameh. Rather, it is a symbol of the triumph of true love. The colourful objects in the lower left appear to be shaded candles, as seen in Persian painting from the Jalayerid period, dating to c.1400. This and the white head-coverings worn by female attendants suggests Persian influence received through Yazd rather than Shiraz.

 

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