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No. 84 Mehran Setad selects a bride for Anushirvan

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No. 84 Mehran Setad selects a bride for Anushirvan

Ferdowsi, Shahnameh
Safavid: Esfahan, 1660s
Artist: Mo‘in Mosavver
Opaque watercolour, ink and gold on paper
Nasser D. Khalili Collection of Islamic Art, MSS 1031r

In the days of the Sasanian ruler Anushirvan, the Khaqan of Chin was intent on territorial expansion, but then decided to offer Anushirvan one of his daughters in marriage. We see the wise statesman Mehran Setad, whom Anushirvan sent to make the selection, meeting four princesses, all beautifully adorned daughters of concubines, and a fifth one, simply dressed and modest in demeanour, who is the queen’s daughter. He is able to detect the true princess, presumably the lady second from the left who is not wearing a tiara and whose hair does not stray across her cheek. The signature of the artist, Mo‘in Mosavver, can be seen beneath the picture.

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