Gushtasp Imprisons His Son Asfandiyar, from the Shahnama of FirdausiArtist(s)IranianArtist NationalityIranianObject Creation Datecirca 1460Medium & Supportink, opaque watercolor, and gold leaf on paperDimensions
10 1/2 in. x 7 in. ( 26.7 cm x 17.8 cm )Credit LineMuseum PurchaseLabel copy
Gushtasp returned triumphantly from his exile in Rum and was crowned Shah, his father by then having reached old age. History—or perhaps we should say legend—repeated itself when a jealous courtier persuaded Gushtasp that his son Asfandiyar was plotting rebellion. Gushtasp summoned his son to court and accused him in front of all the Iranian nobles.
The son exclaimed: “O Shah of noble race!
How ever could I hanker for thy death? …
When ever did I harbour such designs?
But thou art Shah; ‘tis thine to order; I
Am thine, and bonds and prison rest with thee.
Bid them to bind or slay me as thou wilt;
My heart is honest and my mind submiss.”
The king of kings exclaimed: “Bring hither chains,
Bind him, and falter not.”
They brought in blacksmiths,
Yoke, chains, and heavy shackles, and then bound him,
Both hand and foot, before the king, the world-lord,
So straitly fettered him that all beholding
Warner, V, 84
Although this should be an interior scene, the painter has placed it outdoors. It is almost certainly by the same hand as “Kai Khusrau Slays Afrasiyab and Garsiwaz” (1963/1.57).
Maribeth Graybill, Senior Curator of Asian Art
Exhibited in "A Medieval Masterpiece from Baghdad: the Ann Arbor Shahnama"
August 14 through December 19, 2004Primary Object ClassificationPaintingCollection AreaWesternRights
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