Tabriz School  - Abduction of Zal by the Simurgh

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Abduction of Zal by the Simurgh
also known as "The Simurgh taking Zal to its nest on Mount Demavend"
Unknown artist, Sarai Albums, Tabriz (Persia)
Miniature, Topkapı Palace Museum

The origins of Persian miniature are difficult to ascertain, but most historians agree that its "golden age" was reached between the thirteenth and sixteenth centuries. During the Mongol Empire, several artists moved from China to Persia, introducing many innovations such as the vertical format or the depictions of legendary winged animals such as dragons or buraqs.

This powerful miniature is a good example of these advances. The simurgh, a giant mythological bird-shaped creature, takes the legendary warrior Zal to its nests at Mount Damavand (the highest peak of what is now Iran). Despite the bright colors of the tail of the simurgh, it is hard not to admire the landscape. It is evident that the artist has chosen expressiveness over naturalism, despite which the trees in the foreground are painted with a remarkable attention to details.

Although landscape was never part of the main repertoire of Persian miniaturists, this miniature is part of an album that also contains other interesting landscapes, such as "Isfandiyar fights with the wolves".

G. Fernández -

Isfandiyar fights with the wolves

"Isfandiyar fights with the wolves", miniature from the same album

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