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The Simurg carring off elephants in its beak and claws. Deccan, circa late 19th century. Gouache on wasli. 28.6 x 19cm

The Simurg (or Simorgh) is a mythical bird in Persian legend and folklore, said to be similar to the Arabian Roc. It features in The Shanama or Book of Firdowsi and in Persian Sufi poetry. Rosemary Crill kindly informs me it became a popular Indo-Persian motif from the 17th century onwards, featuring in paintings, on Kashmiri shawls and even inlaid cabinets.

Ref: Deccan simurg151110

All images and text © Peter Blohm