Bahram Gur and his Seven Princesses, from a Khamsa of Nizami. Shiraz, Iran, 1548.

I’ve posted a couple of these before, but I thought it would be nice to put the whole set together.

There’s a lot of cool multiculturalism in here! These paintings illustrate Hasht-Bihisht, the Eight Paradises, a Persian poem written by Amir Khusrow around 1302 AD:

[The Persian Prince] Bahram has seven differently-coloured domed pavilions built for him within his palace grounds, in which wait seven princesses from various parts of the world. Bahram Gur visits each on a different day of the week and each of them tells him a story: 

Saturday – the Black Pavilion – the Indian Princess
Sunday – the Yellow Pavilion – the Princess of Nimruz [in Afghanistan]
Monday – the Green Pavilion – the Slav Princess [i.e. Russia]
Tuesday – the Red Pavilion – the Tatar Princess [i.e. China]
Wednesday – the Violet Pavilion – the Princess of Rum [Byzantium, i.e. Turkey]
Thursday – the Brown Pavilion – the Arabian Princess
Friday – the White Pavilion – the Princess of Khwarezm [in Persia]

Now I want to read their stories…

There’s been a beautifully illustrated children’s adaptation of the work:

Wafa Tarnowska
The Seven Wise Princesses: A Medieval Persian Epic

UK (2002)


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