Qasam al-Abbas Arrives from Mecca and Crushes Tahmasp with a Mace
Page from a dispersed manuscript of the Hamzanama (Adventures of Hamza)
Attributed to Mahesha, Indian, active c. 1570 - 1590
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This battle scene comes from a monumental manuscript of the Hamzanama that was produced for the Mughal Emperor Akbar (1556-1605). Based on a Persian legend, the Hamzanama was transmitted across the Muslim world, including India. Here the hero Qasam al-Abbas fights the giant villain Tahmasp. Their different mounts suggest their different nationalities: Qasam rides a camel, which together with the white cloth fastened in his helmet and looped around his face, is meant to indicate his Arab origins. (Indeed, the text confirms that he comes from Mecca, the center of Muslim pilgrimage on the Arabian peninsula.) Tahmasp, on the other hand, is a Persian villain and so rides a beautifully caparisoned Persian horse that wears gold armor held together by blue, Persian-style textiles.