Hushang Slays the Black Div

Iran, probably Shiraz, Timurid period, 1441
Opaque watercolor, ink, and gold on paper
Lent by the Art and History Collection LTS1995.2.24

This lively composition may be the earliest depiction of Hushang, the grandson of Kayumars, the first Iranian king. Accompanied by angels, demons, and soldiers who anxiously watch from behind craggy mountains, the young hero bravely slays his supernatural enemy, the Black Demon (div-i siyah). The painting’s heightened sense of drama and excitement extends into the left margin, where a swooping angel brings a second demon to its knees.