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Rustam Falls Asleep

Illustration of Jalayrids from a late 14th Century Shahnama

The figures wear contemporary dress or dress of no latter than the date of the illustration.

A large coloured detail of Rustam Falls Asleep, Shahnama, Jalarid Tabriz, Iran, 14th Century.

From the Sarai Albums. Hazine 2153, folio 100b, Topkapi Sarai Museum.

Rustam Falling Asleep at the Fifth Stage (fig. 24).

    One day Rustam gets bored and goes hunting on his horse, Rakhsh, towards the frontier of Turan. He reaches a plain where zebras are grazing; he kills one and cooks it on the fire. After the heavy meal he falls asleep while his horse grazes. Meanwhile some Turks passing by catch his horse and take it away. Rustam is grieved when he cannot find his horse upon awakening.
    Rustam is asleep on his back in the right foreground using his saddle as a pillow. Over his gold coat of mail he wears a coat of tigerskin. Around him lie his quiver, bow and mace. On the left a man much smaller in stature is walking and is about to step outside the frame of the miniature. A row of rocks and bushes separates the meadow where the horse is grazing from the beige ground where the figures of Rustam and the Turk are presented. The horse, seen from the back, is orange-brown; and the meadow is painted in various shades of green with fine brush-strokes. In the upper left the dark-blue sky is visible.
    The miniature is framed by texts above and below. The one above has no relation to the scene. An addition has been made also to the miniature, but it is very difficult to detect since it has been restored very skillfully. It starts from the bottom right corner and goes up, taking in Rustamís quiver and joins the text above, over the dark blue-grey rock. Attention has been given to presenting the protagonist alone. His horse grazing freely is noteworthy. The scenery is not merely a background for the figures but becomes a space in which the figures have been freely placed.
Source: "Four Istanbul Albums and Some Fragments from Fourteenth-Century Shah-Namehs" by Nurhan Atasoy, pp. 19-48 in Ars orientalis; the arts of Islam and the East Vol. 8 (1970)

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