• Shahnameh



Page from the Persian Shahnameh or ‘Book of Kings’

Iran, 1057 AH, 1657 CE

The famous 10th century poet Firdausi took 30 years to write this masterpiece. The 50,000 verses tell the story of Persia from its first king until the conquest of the region by the Muslims in the 7th century.

The Shahnameh is one of the most widely-copied and illustrated books of the Medieval period. This is one of many commissioned by the Safavids who ruled Iran from the 16th to the early 18th century.

This page tells of Suhrab, the son of Rustam, the most famous hero of this epic story and commander of the army of Turan (Central Asia).

He fights Gurdafarid, a female warrior known for her courage. When she is knocked from her horse, Suhrab tears off her armour to discover that she is actually a woman. Today Gurdafarid is still a symbol of feminism for Iranian women.

Page from the Persian Shahnameh