Skip to main content

No. 38 Rostam deflects a rock

This content is archived

No. 38 Rostam deflects a rock

Ferdowsi, Shahnameh
Timurid: Shiraz, c.1430
Patron: Ebrahim Soltan b. Shah Rokh
Illuminator: Nasr al-Soltani
Opaque watercolours, ink and gold on paper
Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Ouseley Add. 176, fol. 272v

When Shah Goshtasp realized that his son Esfandiyar coveted his throne, he dispatched him to Sistan to bring back Rostam, if necessary in chains, on the pretext that the hero had not come to pay homage. Goshtasp was aware of a prophecy that Esfandiyar would be killed. Esfandiyar sent his son, Bahman, to convey Goshtasp’s demand. On seeing the massive Rostam roasting an onager, Bahman realized that his father’s mission might fail and rolled a boulder down on the hero. Rostam nonchalantly waited until the last moment and we see him here kicking the boulder aside, while continuing to cook his meal.

Together with Nos. 33, 34, 35, 36 and 39, this illustration belonged to a splendid copy of the Shahnameh commissioned by Timur’s grandson, Ebrahim Soltan (1394–1435), son of Shah Rokh, c.1430.

University of Cambridge Museums logo
Arts Council England Logo
Research England logo
The Technology Partnership logo
Brewin Dolphin Logo