Page from the 'Shah Nama'; illustration of Alexander the Great (356-323 B.C.) subduing the Africans; depiction of a realistic sixteenth-century Islamic battle

Alexander the Great Battling the Zangi, c. 1550

Unknown artist, expand_more
Not on Viewexpand_more

Artists working independently of patrons in Shiraz workshops probably produced the most progressive paintings in mid-sixteenth century Persia. This arrangement encouraged greater artistic freedom within the inherently restrictive manuscript format. This leaf illustrates Alexander the Great (356-323 BCE), one of the heroes in Firdawsi's Shah Nama, subduing the Africans. Despite the fanciful composition, the scene depicts in realistic detail battles as they were actually fought throughout sixteenth century Islam. Although the conquest of Alexander destroyed the ancient Achaemenid empire, it launched a long period of intense commercial relations between the Middle East and the Mediterranean world, trade that subsequent Persian empires would eventually dominate.

Details
Title
Alexander the Great Battling the Zangi
Role
Artist
Accession Number
51.37.29
Curator Approved

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Page from the 'Shah Nama'; illustration of Alexander the Great (356-323 B.C.) subduing the Africans; depiction of a realistic sixteenth-century Islamic battle