Ink, opaque watercolor and gold on paper
H: 27.3 W: 16.5 cm
Nizami's Khamsa (Quintet), one of Iran's literary masterpieces, was particularly favored during the Timurid period. This folio is from the second poem, known as Khusraw and Shirin and is devoted to the romance between the last Sasanian king, Khusraw II (reigned 590628), known as Parviz (the Victorious), and Shirin, the beautiful and independent-minded Armenian princess. It depicts the first encounter between Shirin and the third central character of Nizami's text, the sculptor Farhad, who also falls desperately in love with the Armenian princess. Intimate in scale, the painting's meticulously rendered, stagelike interior and jewel-like palette are characteristic of early Timurid aesthetic refinement.