Skip to main content

Exhibitions

Discover our collection

Hunting scene

Hunting scene

From a manuscript of ʿAbd al-Vasiʿ al-Jabali, Divan (Collected poems), copied c 1600–05

Bodleian Library, University of Oxford, MS Ouseley Add 19, fol 1v

Since antiquity, Persian princes were portrayed in poetry in their habitual pursuits of feasting and fighting, razm u bazm. Equestrian sports were prominent and the royal hunt was a key element of the Persian concept of glamorous and divine kingship, farr.

Didactic stories about exemplary kings of the past were often given hunting settings, and manuscripts commissioned by kings or princes sometimes contained an illustration of the patron on a hunting expedition.

Hunting was also used by poets as a metaphor for the search for love. Imagery of the bow and arrow, and the snare or target served as wordplay for poets in their descriptions of the lover’s pursuit of their beloved.