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BAHRAM GUR, THE SHEPHERD AND HIS DOG, TIMURID, PERSIA, LATE 14TH-EARLY 15TH CENTURY

Lot 23 BAHRAM GUR, THE SHEPHERD AND HIS DOG, TIMURID, PERSIA, LATE 14TH-EARLY 15TH CENTURY

Reference: ARTISLA50954

A miniature painting depicting the king Bahram Gur, also known as Bahram V, the fifteenth Sasanian King of Persia from 420 – 438 A.D. He was the son of Yazdegerd I (399-420 A.D.) who gained the crown after his father’s assassination with the assistance of Al-Mundhir I ibn al-Nu’man – the king of the Lakhmid Dynasty.
He was a popular king in the Persian mythic tradition with many stories commending his valour and beauty, as well as his victories over the Romans, Indians, Africans and Hephthalites. He was also a celebrated hunter, builder of fortresses and gardens and lover. Here we see Bahram Gur with a shepherd hanging his dog as punishment for having let a wolf steal his sheep. On the right we see the king wearing his royal crown of red and gold, a long blue tunic underneath a red short-sleeved tunic embroidered with luxurious gold thread. Behind him a majestic dark brown steed wearing a blue saddle. He is knelt next to a shepherd who wears a red headdress and a brown and gold tunic. They rest underneath a grand tree with leaves of gold and brown, on grassy green earth that sprouts various flowers and shrubs suggestive of a bountiful pasture. In the tree a grey dog with a white belly hangs upside down from a branch with his mouth open and tongue protruding. Next to the shepherd is a large black tent with gold stars embroidered in to the fabric, which hangs from the tree with a gold crown. Above them is a rich gold sky, reflective of the intense Asian sun, but also symbolic of the vast cost of the work and wealth of its owner through the abundance of the expensive material. The painting is particular delicate in a rich palette of colours and is clearly the work of a master painter, possibly from Samarkand, which was the most prolific early centre of production for such works during the Timurid Dynasty.
Underneath the painting are four columns outlined in gold, each containing eleven lines of nastaliq script in elegant black calligraphic handwriting.

CATALOGUE NOTE
A similar early 16th century painted version of this scene can be found in the Walters Art Museum in Maryland.

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