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Gurgin Fights with Andariman, from the Shahnama of Firdausi

Iranian

Artwork Details

Gurgin Fights with Andariman, from the Shahnama of Firdausi
circa 1460
Iranian
ink, opaque watercolor, and gold leaf on paper
10 1/2 in. x 7 in. ( 26.7 cm x 17.8 cm )
Museum Purchase
1963/1.55

On Display

Not currently on display

Description

At one point in the ongoing battle between Iran and Turan, the leading generals made a pact to resolve the war by placing ten champions from each side in one-on-one combat. Firdausi’s text describes in quick succession each of these encounters. After a series of seven victories for the Iranians,
Gurgin [who] was the eighth went out to fight
Andariman, one of the Turkmen host.
Experienced both and veteran they went
And chose a battlefield. …
Gurgin shot at Andariman a shaft
That pinned the Ruman helmet to his head,
And as the cavalier reeled with the smart,
Gurgin shot yet another, pierced his side,
And brought the blood-drops from his eyes with anguish.
Gurgin gat down like wind, took his foe’s head,
And strapped it to the saddle. Having mounted
He led the Turkman’s charger, and then scaled
In haste the hill, his bow slung on his arm.
Thus returned triumphantly
He setting the heart-illuming flag on high.
Warner, IV, 104–05
As is so often the case in this manuscript, the painter strives to be utterly faithful to the text; but the wintry trees are his own contribution and seem to sympathize with the fallen warrior.
———
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:

Gurgin Fights with Andariman

Gurgin...went out to fight 
Andariman, one of the Turkman host.
Experienced both and veteran they went 
And chose a battlefield

...Gurgin shot at Andariman a shaft
That pinned the Ruman helmet to his head, 
And as a cavalier reeled with the smart, 
Gurgin shot yet another, pierced his side, 
And brought the blood-drops from his eyes with anguish.
Gurgin gat down like wind, took his foe's head,
And strapped it to the saddle. Having mounted 
He led the Turkman's charger, and then scaled 
In haste the hill, his bow slung on his arm...
Thus returned triumphantly 
He set the heart-illuming flag on high. 

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 Gurgin Fights with Andariman from the Shahnama of Firdausi, the Persian book of kings. 

Usage Rights:

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