Two Mountain Rams Fighting
Manafi al-Hayawan (The Benefits of Animals), in Persian
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan, 1912
This book, ranked among the ten greatest Persian manuscripts, dates from the reign of Ghazan Khan (1295–1304), the Mongol ruler who ordered the Persian translation. The Mongol invasion, culminating in the conquest of Baghdad, influenced the development of Islamic painting. The Mongols brought a new, naturalist Chinese style to Persian art, which is reflected here. The text discusses the nature and medicinal properties of man, animals, birds, reptiles, fish, and insects. The illustration pictures two mountain rams fighting on a fanciful Chinese-style bridge composed of colored rocks, with oriental-style gold clouds in the sky.