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No. 74     Garshasp battles with the sagsars  image

‘Ali b. Ahmad Asadi Tusi, Garshaspnameh
Safavid: Qazvin, November–December 1573
Scribe: ‘Emad al-Din al-Hoseyni
Painter: Sadeqi

Opaque watercolour, ink and gold on paper

London, British Library, MS Or. 12985, fol. 45v


The Garshaspnameh, ‘The Book of Garshasp’, composed in 1066, is one of the works that developed the earlier or later stories of Shahnameh characters. Garshasp, who lived in the time of Zahhak, was Rostam’s great-great uncle. He is here depicted visiting the island of Qalun, where the blue-bodied sagsars (‘dog-heads’), excellent horsemen skilled in warfare, devoured their defeated opponents. This courtly manuscript was produced in Qazvin, Iran’s capital in the second half of the sixteenth century. It contains the names of several painters. Here, between the (right-hand) first and second lower columns, we see the signature of Sadeqi, a warrior, courtier, man of letters and artist of Turkman descent.



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