Home > Explore + Learn > Arts of the Islamic World > Shahnama: 1000 Years of the Persian Book of Kings > Afrasiyab's Night Attack

Afrasiyab's Night Attack

Year after year Iran and its eastern neighbor Turan battle for supremacy over the region. Afrasiyab, Iran's formidable enemy, organizes a night attack against the Persian forces as revenge for Iran's invasion of Turan. When the Persians fall asleep after an evening of drinking and merry-making, Afrasiyab's men descend on them "like a black cloud." Most of the soldiers, sleeping under a tent, are surprised in the night attack and killed.

detail from Afrasiyab's Night Attack

Detail, Afrasiyab's Night Attack . View full »


We are excited to reopen the Freer in October 2017, following a renovation to allow us to better present our art and serve our visitors. The Sackler remains open, with a full lineup of exhibitions and events both in the museum and around DC. For your safety, all visitors will have their bags checked. See the complete list of restricted items and bag sizes.