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The Art of the Book
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Bahram Gur Hunting Onagers
Page from the Great Mongol Shahnama (Book of Kings)
Iran (probably Tabriz), 1330s
Ink, colors, and gold on paper
Worcester Art Museum, Worcester, Mass.,
Jerome Wheelock Fund (1935.24)
cat. 57
[click images for full object view]

Manuscript Bahram Gur Hunting Manuscript Bahram Gur Hunting
Manuscript Bahram Gur Hunting

On a hunt, Bahram Gur astounded his companions with his prowess at hunting onagers, a type of Asian wild ass (and the source of the nickname “Gur”).

As a gesture of generosity, Bahram ordered 1,200 onagers (half to be branded and half to be earmarked with gold rings) to be distributed among the people. As in other such scenes, this painting simultaneously illustrates different moments in the narrative.

  Manuscript Bahram Gur Hunting

Bahram Gur is shown with an arrow at the ready...

Manuscript Bahram Gur Hunting

...while another has already hit its mark.

Manuscript Bahram Gur Hunting

Other onagers are seen with brands on their rumps and gold rings in their ears.

Manuscript Bahram Gur Hunting
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