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In the Field of Empty Days: The Story of Gurdafarid and Suhrab

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On May 2, 2018 Gordafarid, the first female Naqqal (or Iranian epic storyteller) presented tales behind some of the art in the exhibition In the Field of Empty Days: The Intersection of Past and Present in Iranian Art.

In this video, Gordafarid presents The Story of Gurdafarid and Suhrab.

Gurdafarid is the only female warrior in the Iranian national epic the Shahnama or “Book of Kings,” completed by the Persian poet Firdausi in 1010 A.D. Gurdafarid is best known for her martial role in the battle against Suhrab, another legendary hero, from the rival land of Turan. To defend Iran against a Turanian raid, Gurdafarid disguises herself as a male warrior and bravely faces the entire enemy army. Engaged in single combat with Suhrab, he pulls off her helmet revealing her true nature. Suhrab promptly falls in love with Gurdafarid, who knows she can only succeed against her more powerful adversary through cunning. She eventually escapes to her fortress and from atop its high walls she mocks Suhrab and strangely enough foretells his doom.