Rostam catching Rakhsh

The Persian hero Rostam capturing his horse Rakhsh. When it became clear that Rostam was of age and had the potential to be a great champion, his father Zal promised to find a horse worthy of him - who would not run away in the middle of battle. Rostam was given the pick of the herds of horses that roamed Zabolestan or Kabolestan. He picked a horse who was notoriously flighty and difficult to catch -for three years it had rejected attempts of other warriors to tame it. However Rostam was impressed:

Its body was a wonder to behold,

Like saffron petals, mottled red and gold;

Brave as a lion, a camel for its height,

An elephant in massive strength and might

Rostam felt it was fated that Rakhsh was his horse. This was because he was able to catch the horse with his lasso and it allowed him to climb on its back. They went on the have many adventures together.

This is from a Persian manuscript of the Shahname which dates from the 15th century. It has seventy two miniature illustrations showing characters and scenes from the epic. The artwork in this version of the Shahname is particularly fine.

Taken from: Shahname
Author / Creator: unknown
Publisher: not applicable
Date: 1450
Copyright: By permission of the British Library Board
Shelfmark: Islamic Add. 18188 f.85a