The Div Akwan Flings Rustam into the Sea, from the Shahnama of Firdausi

Accession Number

The Div Akwan Flings Rustam into the Sea, from the Shahnama of Firdausi


Artist Nationality

Object Creation Date
circa 1460

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

10 1/2 in. x 7 in. ( 26.7 cm x 17.8 cm )

Subject matter
He watered Rakhsh and sank to sleep fordone,
But first ungirthed his steed, took off the saddle
To use its poplar pummel as his pillow,
And spread beside the spring his saddle-cloth
For sleep while Rakhsh to pasturage sped forth.
When from afar Akwan saw Rustam sleeping
He came as swift as wind, delved round about
The place where Rustam lay, and raised it skyward.

Then said Akwan to Rustam in his plight:
“Now, elephantine chieftain! take thy choice
To fall upon the mountains or the waves;
So whither shall I fling thee far from men?”
The elephantine hero communed thus:
“In every case naught bettereth artifice.
He will do contrary to what I say;
He will not recognise an oath or keep
A pact. If I say, ‘Throw me in the sea,’
Then will this evil-natured Ahriman*
Fling me upon the mountains, dash me there
To pieces, and destroy me. I must use
Some scheme to make him fling me into water. …”

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, The Div Akwan Flings Rustam into the Sea, is part of the Shahnama of Firdausi, the Persian book of kings. 

Primary Object Classification

Collection Area

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Iranian Islamic painting styles after the Mongols
Iranian Islamic styles after the Mongols
Timurid painting styles
calligraphy (visual works)
gold leaf
gouaches (paintings)
miniatures (paintings)
watercolor painting (technique)

9 Related Resources

Arts from Persia and Iran
(Part of: Ancient and Classical Civilizations)
Before 1492
(Part of 3 Learning Collections)
Death Personified
(Part of 6 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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