Siyavush Displays His Prowess before Afrasiyab, from the Shahnama of Firdausi (The "Kervorkian Shahnama")

Accession Number

Siyavush Displays His Prowess before Afrasiyab, from the Shahnama of Firdausi (The "Kervorkian Shahnama")


Artist Nationality

Object Creation Date
circa 1460

Medium & Support
ink, opaque watercolor, and gold leaf on paper

10 1/2 in. x 7 1/16 in. ( 26.7 cm x 18 cm )

Subject matter
Siyavush Displays His Prowess Before Afrasiyab

One night the king spake thus to Siyavush:--
"Tomorrow morning let us play at polo;
I hear that none among the warriors 
Can face thy mall on thine own ground.

Let us be opposites,
Select our partners, and make up our sides."

Then Siyavush urged on his steed and smote
The ball, or ever it could reach the ground, 
So stoutly that it disappeared from sight. 

He mounted a fresh steed, threw up the ball,
And drove it out of sight to see the moon.
Thou wouldst have said: "The sky attracted it."
There was not on the ground his peer, and none, 
Had such a beaming face. The monarch laughed...:--

"...Siyavush hath bettered all report."

Physical Description
This Persian miniature is attributed to the Shiraz and Timurid schools, ca. 1460. The painting is done in ink, opaque watercolor and gold leaf on paper. The scene, Siyavush Displays His Prowess before Afrasiyab, is part of the Shahnama of Firdausi, the Persian book of kings. 

Primary Object Classification

Collection Area

If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form. Keywords
Iranian Islamic painting styles after the Mongols
Iranian Islamic styles after the Mongols
Persian-Farsi (language)
Timurid painting styles
calligraphy (visual works)
gold leaf
gouaches (paintings)
miniatures (paintings)
watercolor painting (technique)

11 Related Resources

Lesson Plan: Asian Epics
(Part of: Lesson Plans)
Arts from Persia and Iran
(Part of: Ancient and Classical Civilizations)
Before 1492
(Part of 3 Learning Collections)
(Part of 3 Learning Collections)
Visual Adaptations of Literature
(Part of 2 Learning Collections)
Shahnama, the Persian Book of Kings
(Part of: Shahnama, The Persian Book of Kings     )
The Age of Heroes 
(Part of: Shahnama, The Persian Book of Kings     )
Visual Cultures of Islam- Manuscripts 
(Part of: Visual Cultures of Islam )

& Author Notes

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