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Shirin Mourning Farhad's Death, c. 18th century

India: Provincial Mughal Style, 1700-1799
Opaque watercolor on paper
image: 11 x 7 in. (27.9 x 17.8 cm); sheet: 13-1/2 x 10 in. (34.3 x 25.4 cm)
Norton Simon Museum, Gift of Vineet and Floretta Kapoor
© Norton Simon Museum

Not on view

The tragic love story of Shirin and Khusraw is the Persian equivalent of Romeo and Juliet. Shirin’s father encourages Farhad, Khusraw’s rival, to cut a road through an impenetrable mountain; if he is successful, he will offer him his daughter’s hand in marriage. Fueled by passion, Farhad works day and night and nearly completes the seemingly impossible task. Shirin’s father then dupes the lovesick man by sending an old woman to tell him that Shirin has died. Grief-stricken, Farhad jumps to his death. Below, Shirin mourns his unfortunate and tragic death, while the old woman covers her face in shame.

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