Esfandiyar, son of Goshtasp of Iran, went to the Brazen Hold to free his sisters who had been abducted by Arjasp of Turan. Disguised as a merchant, he entered Arjasp’s fortress, found his sisters, signalled to his army outside to attack the castle, and slayed Arjasp.

Esfandiyar Slays Arjasp in the Brazen Hold (Abu'l Qasim Firdausi CE Persian): Shahnama (Book of Kings) CE Timurid Miniature Painting, Herat, Afghanistan (?

On his way to release his sisters from Turanian ruler Arjasp in the Brazen Hold, Esfandiyar encountered Seven Perils — the counterpart of those experienced by Rostam when he rescued Key Kavus (both paralleling the Labours of Hercules).

56 Esfandiyar slays two kargs image Ferdowsi, Shahnameh Turkman Commercial style: Shiraz, 15 January 1475 Scribe: Soltan ‘Ali Opaque watercolour, ink and gold on paper Private Collection, fol.

Key Khosrow spent the night reading the Avesta (the primary collection of sacred Zoroastrian texts) and bade his companions farewell. In the morning they searched for him in vain, fell asleep and were buried in the snow.

Paladins in the Snow (Abu'l Qasim Firdausi CE Persian): Shahnama ("Book of Kings") Islamic Timurid Miniature Painting, Herat, Afghanistan (?

In this illustration, the youthful Manuchehr is centrally enthroned and juxtaposed with the maturing warrior Rostam seated on the left. The painting does not illustrate a specific incident in the Shahnameh and Rostam is not even mentioned in the text, though he was born in the reign of Manuchehr.

Rashid al-Din, Jami’ al-Tawarikh (‘Compendium of Histories’) Il-Khanid: Tabriz, 1314

this image depicts Key Khosrow’s successor, Lohrasp, enthroned. Here we see figures characteristic of the Il-Khanid court: young attendants wear split-brimmed Mongol caps with their hair in bunches, while old, bearded figures with aquiline profiles have turbans. The latter have long written scrolls and pen-boxes.  They are Persian bureaucrats, indispensable to the running of the empire. The lotus decoration on the throne back is typical for the period.

Lohrasp enthroned with scribes in attendance Rashid al-Din, Jami’ al-Tawarikh…

we see Ferdowsi, the figure closest to the river, in the garden of Soltan Mahmud and the court poets of Ghazni who are testing his skills. Their faces betray comic alarm, while Ferdowsi’s gesture suggests exposition tempered by courtesy.

The Royal Asiatic Society is very pleased that folios from its Persian manuscript 'Muhammad Juki's Shahnamah of Firdausi' are on display in.