Advanced Search

K-12 Educator
K-12 Student
Museum Visitor
UMMA Docent
UMMA Staff
University Faculty
University Student
Between and Mortarboard


UMMA Object Specific Fields






Query builder

Shida Is Slain by Khusrau, from the Shahnama of Firdausi

Accession Number
1963/1.56

Title
Shida Is Slain by Khusrau, from the Shahnama of Firdausi

Artist(s)
Iranian

Artist Nationality
Iranian

Object Creation Date
circa 1460

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

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

Credit Line
Museum Purchase

Label copy
The contest of champions (in 1963/1.57) did not settle the dispute between Iran and Turan; Shah Kai Khusrau remained determined to exact revenge for the murder of his father Siyawush. Mustering his armies, he marched to the borders of Turan to meet the gathered forces of Afrasiyab. Before the battle could begin, Shida, one of Afrasiyab’s sons, challenged Khusrau to single combat. Khusrau accepted and the two rode away to an isolated spot in the desert, where they fought with lance and sword all day until their horses were exhausted. Then,
The Shah dismounted from his night-hued steed,
Removed his royal helmet and … advanced. …
When Shida saw
From far Khusrau approaching him on foot
That warlike Crocodile dismounted likewise,
And there upon the plain the champions closed
Like elephants, and puddled earth with blood.
When Shida saw the stature of the Shah,
The breast, the Grace divine, and mastery,
He sought some shift whereby he might escape;
Such is the purchase of a shifty heart!
Khusrau, when ware of this, though not expressed
In words, reached out, strong in the strength of Him
By whom the world was made—the Omnipotent—
And, as a lion putteth forth its paws
Upon an onager and flingeth it,
Clutched with left hand the neck, and with the right the back
Of Shida, raised him, dashed him to the ground,
And brake his legs and back-bone like a reed.
Warner, IV, 175–76
In the moral universe of the Shahnama, the duties of kings and their paladins were rigidly defined: it was unthinkable for a king to enter battle personally, let alone to fight on foot. However, it was equally inappropriate for an Iranian knight to stand against Shida, a Turanian royal prince. Firdausi tells us elsewhere that Shida’s armor was forged by magic and only someone under divine protection—that is, Shah Kai Khusrau himself—could defeat him.
———
Maribeth Graybill, Senior Curator of Asian Art
Exhibited in "A Medieval Masterpiece from Baghdad: the Ann Arbor Shahnama"
August 14 through December 19, 2004

Subject matter
Shida is Slain by Khusrau

The Shah dismounted from his night-hued steed, 
Removed his royal helmet and, entrusting 
The noble charger to Ruhham, advanced...
When Shida saw
From far Khusrau approaching him on foot
That warlike Crocodile dismounted likewise, 
And there upon the plain the champions closed 
Like elephants, and puddled earth with blood.
When Shida saw the stature of the Shah, 
The breast, the Grace divine, and mastery, 
He sought some shift whereby he might escape;
Such is the purchase of a shifty heart!
Khusrau, when ware of this, though not expressed 
In words, reached out, strong in the strength of Him
By whom the world was made--the Omnipotent--
And, as a lion putteth forth its paws
Upon an onager and flingeth it, 
Clutched with left hand the necl, with right the back 
Of Shida, raised him, dashed him to the ground, 
And break his legs and back-bone like a reed.
 

Physical Description
Timurid miniature from the Shiraz and Timurid schools, ca. 1460. The painting is done in ink, opaque watercolor and gold leaf on paper. The scene depicts Shida Is Slain by Khusrau from the Shahnama of Firdausi, the Persian book of kings. 

Primary Object Classification
Painting

Collection Area
Western

Rights
If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit http://umma.umich.edu/request-image 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)
Shahnama
Timurid
Timurid painting styles
battle
death
gold leaf
gouache (paint)
miniatures (paintings)
shahs
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 and Dying
(Part of 8 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

All Rights Reserved