Arts of the Book: Illustrated Texts, Miniatures
Lovers In The Storm With Divs
circa 1525 CE
Materials and technique
Opaque watercolour, gold and silver on paper
29.4 x 19.5 cm
Two horned divs (demons) with big teeth sprinkle a storm on a pair of lovers and their crew as their boat makes its way along a silver river (tarnished black over time). Divs are well known characters from Persian mythology. Those in this painting appear either from behind a riverbank or from the sky. The uncertainty of their position is unsettling: at least one crewman covers his eyes in response to the oncoming storm created by the beasts.
The text on the reverse of this painting is poetry from the Divan of Sana‛i (d. 1131) relating a journey but not the one seen here. The painting has been attributed to Shaykh Zada, a student of Bihzad who adopted his master’s precision-detailed forms. Shaykh Zada contributed paintings to several royalcalibre manuscripts commissioned either for Shah Tahmasp or his brother, Sam Mirza, who was governor of Herat from 1522 to 1529 (see Canby 1998, pp. 44-45).
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