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No. 98     Zal in Rudabeh’s pavilion


Ferdowsi, Shahnameh
Persian, 15th century (text), Mughal lacquer covers and Mughal Sub-imperial style (illustration), renovation probably made for ‘Abd al-Rahim, Khankhanan, c.1616
Painter: Qasem

Opaque watercolour, ink and gold on paper

London, British Library, MS Add. 5600, fol. 42v


Zal has climbed to Rudabeh’s pavilion by means of his lasso. They express their love for each other. Eventually, their parents and overlord will agree to their marriage, and they will become the parents of the hero Rostam. The couple is framed in a pavilion at the side of the picture and the viewer observes them as though from a distance, imparting a sense of romantic seclusion to the image.

The illustrations in this manuscript are associated with the names of painters — Qasem seen here on the lower right — who worked for the Mughal courtier and bibliophile, ‘Abd al-Rahim. This, together with the date 1616 noted on fol. 274r, justifies the attribution of the manuscript’s renovation to his patronage.



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