Rostam kills the white div
(Fig.1), is a detail work of art illustrating
different scenes. The scenes include Rostam killing a white demon in the cave, other
demons around and near the cave are expressing their emotion towards the incident and
also arguing, and a man dressed like a king or prince tied to a tree and a lipard is aiming to
attack him. However, Rostam killing the White demon, which is taken from the Shahname
of Ferdawsi, is the focus of the painting. Shahname describes Rostam a man of courage, a
lion, the keeper of Iran, a fighter who knows how to win, and many other characteristics
related to his bravery and loyalty to the king, his father.
Therefore, the painting is
depicting the old Rostam surrounded by dozens of demons while he is slaying the White
demon. But, I am more interesting in the demons emotions and gestures and how they are
illustrated by the artist. The focus of my paper will be to study how demons are depicted by
different artists in terms of emotion, gesture, and color, and compare these characteristics
to illustrated human beings.
Fig. 1 is a painting attributed to Sultan Mohammad in Tabriz, Iran ca. 1525. The art
work is Opaque watercolor, ink, and gold on paper, mounted on an album page. The
illustration is 25 x 14.7 cm. Among the figures, demons have the most emotions and
gestures, which make the painting a puzzling piece.
However, the demons around Rustam
seem to be in conflict among themselves. Some are aiming rocks at Rustam and others are
preventing their fellow demons from throwing the stone. Moreover, demons’ open mouths
represent their anger and dissatisfaction. The White demon in the cave seems to be the