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Zahhak bound on mount Damavand by Faridun

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.



Istanbul, Topkapi Sarayi Muzesi Kutuphanesi
Manuscript: H. 2153
Folio: 082r
Scene: Zahhak bound on mount Damavand
Dimensions (h x w): 290 x 340 mm
Format: Irregular, random into the margins
Gregorian Date: 14th century (early)
School: Tabriz
Source: Shahnama Project



Farīdun Nails Zahhak into a Cave in the Damāwand Mountain (fig. 27).

    Farīdun avenges his father by dethroning Zahhak who, through Satanís curse, has snakes growing out of his shoulders which must be fed human brain. He wants to behead him after tying him securely, but an angel appears to him and tells him to take the prisoner to the Damāwand mountain. Accompanied by a few of his men, Farīdun takes Zahhak there and nails him to the mountain. Zahhak remains there bleeding, and his name vanishes from the face of the earth.
    The dark grey and blue scene is set in mountainous country. Zahhak is immediately noticeable with his white beard and hair and arms held open against the dark cave. He wears only white trousers. The snakes growing out of his shoulders are twisted around his arms. Two men are driving nails into his arms and legs while a third man holds a candle. On the right, Farīdun, on his white horse, looks on with two of his men. The attendant behind him holds an umbrella over his head as a symbol of his sovereignty.
    When the miniature was pasted in the album, a landscape from a different period was added on three sides. These sections include dark green and brown trees, bushes, and grass on the light beige ground whereas the living colors of the main scene indicate a later (sic) period.
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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