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THE PRINCE'S MADJLIS, Firdawsi. Shah-nama MS C-822 LB IOS AS USSR. Frontispiece, ff. lb, 2 Early 16th century. Bukhara
THE PRINCE'S MADJLIS, Firdawsi. Shah-nama

THE PRINCE'S MADJLIS, Firdawsi. Shah-nama


In XVI century books were decorated by frontispieces depicting scenes in the palace not concerning the content of the book. This miniature do not cover the episodes of Shah-nama but depicts a madjlis (a meeting of educated people). At first sight this is a chaotic and disorder scene, but thats not. There are a lot of people on this miniature, but all of them move toward the prince.
According to Arab way of writing manuscripts were read from right to left, thats why the prince is on the right side of the picture. The left part depicts festival arrangement: servants with different courses, guests in wear of bright colours coming to the banquet.
In the centre of the right part there is the prince surrounded by guests, servants and musicians; near the pool there is a battle between the sportsmen. Bright golden, blue, green colours are mixed with red, white and blue spots.
Genre idea of the miniature and detailed description are symbolic. It is a special oriental way of thinking.
The battle between the young and old men is a symbol of the victory of experience and reason over the young force. Probably, it is the parable from Gulistan by Saadi about a teacher and his apprentice whos asked the teacher to battle with him. The apprentice lost it.
Complex composition and a lot of different scenes are typical for such two-pages frontispiece of Central Asia in XVI century.
Madjlis scene differs from the other illustrations to Shakh-nama. It means that there was another author of that diptych.
Over the entrance group there are some inscriptions in Arab and Persian languages.