Mirror of the Invisible World: Tales from the Khamseh of Nizami

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Peter J. Chelkowski, Nizami Ganjavi Khamsah, Metropolitan Museum of Art, "Mirror of the Invisible World: Tales from the Khamseh of Nizami"
1975 | pages: 128 | ISBN: 0870991426 | PDF | 17 mb

Next to Ferdowsi's "Shah-nameh", the "Khamseh" or "Quintet" of Nizami offered the best opportunity for a wide-ranging series of illustrations to the Iranian miniaturist. Although these paintings lacked the typical iconographic formulas of the epic-heroic subjects such as enthronements, battles of whole armies, duels of the paladins, and encounters with demons and monsters-they depicted instead many scenes of great variety and romantic appeal. These have been rendered in innumerable manuscrs from the late fourteenth century up to the nineteenth century and have resulted in some of the most beloved motifs of Iranian pictorial arts. The scenes of Khosrow discovering Shirin bathing in a pool of water, of Shirin visiting Farhad as he carves his way through the mountain of Bisutun, of the unhappy sculptor carrying his queen and her horse on his shoulders, of Layla and her boy lover in school, of the poet Majnun in the desert surrounded by wild and tame animals, of Bahram Gur in the brilliantly colored pavilions of his seven beautiful princesses, are well known to all admirers of Iranian art in both the East and the West.
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