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Iran

Rustam slays the dragon

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Object Details

Culture

Iran
Safavid period

Date

17th century

Medium

Ink and gold on paper

Dimensions

Image: 8 × 12 inches (20.3 × 30.5 cm)
Frame: 11 7/8 × 16 × 1 inches (30.2 × 40.6 × 2.5 cm)

Credit Line

Acquired through the George and Mary Rockwell Fund

Object
Number

2015.071.001

Rustam is one of the most celebrated characters of the Shahnama (Book of Kings), a great folk hero w(…)

Rustam is one of the most celebrated characters of the Shahnama (Book of Kings), a great folk hero who protects Iran’s monarchy from its enemies. This exquisite fine-line drawing depicts the third of a series of challenges that Rustam must overcome in the epic: a menacing dragon.In this episode, Rustam, exhausted from having crossed a desert, lies down to sleep but is awakened twice by his horse Raksh, who sees a dragon that is invisible to Rustam. Rustam scolds and threatens to punish Raksh for disturbing him. When Raksh sees the dragon for the third time, he hesitates to awaken Rustam but finally, convinced of imminent danger, he kicks the ground once again to alert his master. This time the dragon becomes visible to Rustam and a fierce attack ensues. With Rustam wielding his sword and Raksh biting the dragon, together they kill the beast.

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