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"Sarafra'i Kills Khushnavaz in a Night Battle," Page from a Manuscript of the Shahnama of Firdawsi

War was considered the most dangerous of imperial activities, but a ruler often depended on it to acquire or expand his kingdom. In this battle scene, armor-clad mounted warriors charge full speed ahead their adrenaline dynamically expressed through diagonally drawn bows, galloping horses, and the spiraling clouds of dust that frame them and rise up between the opposing forces. Along with the red and yellow ochre palette, the warriors' long torsos and the shallow background represent a style unique to painting in Shiraz under the lnjuids, governors of Fars province and vassals to the Ilkhanid Mongol rulers of Iran in the fourteenth century.

This folio belongs to a manuscript commissioned by Qavam al-Din Hasan, minister to the Injuid governor of Fars province, Abu lshaq (ruled 1335–1353), in A.H. 741/1341 A.D., as stated in its colophon. Court life thus extended into the lives of independent governing courts at the furthest reaches of the empire.


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