Shahnameh - The mystical bird Simurgh brings Zal back to his father Sam
Size: 210 x 140 cm
Origin and time: Istanbul, around 1550 – 1570
Austrian National Library, Vienna
Inv. No. E 5265 C
... Zal, King’s Sam son, is born with white hair, he is an albino. The King sees this as a bad omen and orders the baby, though he is healthy and strong, to be taken to the foothills of the Alborz Mountains and left there. Simurgh, the mystical bird, finds the boy and carries him to hiss nest. He feels sympathy for the young boy and raises him together with his own offspring.
After some years King Sam hears that the little boy has become a strong young man and, regretting what he did, he sets off for the mountains to find his son. Simurgh brings Zal back to his father and says goodbye to his foster-son ...
The illustration shows Simurgh on the left side with a crest and long colourful tail feathers, bringing Zal back to his father who sits on the ground awaiting his son. On the white frame are Ottoman decorations in form of colourful (red, blue, gold) cirri displaying lotus and rosettes as well as golden fantasy leaves and narrow elongated palmettos. The strong emphasis on the precise shape of the leaves renders the painting unusually hard. This as well as the red coloured beak and shoulder of the bird might indicate that the painting was not completed. Though it is slightly browned and was cut at the bottom by the compiler, the paper is on the whole very well preserved.