Birth of Zal", Folio from a Shahnama (Book of Kings)
Abu'l Qasim Firdausi (935–1020)
Attributed to Siyavush (ca. 1536–1610)
Shah Isma'il (r. 1576–77)
Folio from an illustrated manuscript
Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper
H. 17 3/4 in. (45.1 cm) W. 12 1/8 in. (30.8 cm)
This page comes from a manuscript of the Persian epic, the Shahnama (Book of Kings), produced for Shah Isma'il II (r. 1576–77). It depicts a scene from the story of the Birth of Zal, who would become one of the great warrior heroes of the epic. After his birth, Zal was rejected and left to die in the wilderness by his father Sam, here pictured enthroned. The baby Zal was saved by the legendary fantastical bird, the simurgh, and eventually reunited with his father to rule Iran. In addition to the illustration, this page features four columns of text in nasta'liq script.