TEHRAN – Persian painter Mahmud Farshchian has portrayed the story of Imam Reza (AS) acting as a mediator between a gazelle and a hunter in his two masterpieces named “The Guarantor of the Gazelle” to represent kindness to animals in Islam.
Both of the artworks are on view at the Astan-e Qods Razavi Museum in Mashhad.
“The Guarantor of the Gazelle” is an epithet of Imam Reza (AS), depicting a story in which the Shia’s leader acted as a mediator between a gazelle and a hunter.
The Guarantor of the Gazelle refers to the story of a deer caught by a hunter in a forest. Passing by, Imam Reza (AS) asked the hunter to free the deer so she could raise her babies, but he promised the deer would come back afterward. The hunter accepted and freed the deer.
Months later, the deer returned to the hunter’s home. However, the hunter declined to kill her, as he saw the miracle in what had happened.
“In this second painting, the hunter repents of his plan to kill the gazelle, disposing of all his hunting equipment,” Farshchian had explained and added, “Furthermore, the gazelle’s gesture of seeking asylum has been brilliantly depicted.”
Farshchian spent over a year painting the second tableau.
Farshchian had said that he has painted both of the paintings for his own satisfaction in order to present it to the Astan-e Qods Razavi Museum.
The museum is adjacent to the Shrine of Imam Reza (AS) in Mashhad and it is playing host to several other works by the master.
Farshchian was born in Isfahan, a city renowned for its art and skilled artists, and studied painting under the supervision of Haj Mirza Aqa Emami and Isa Bahadori.
His masterpieces are on display at numerous museums and exhibitions worldwide.
He is recognized as the most important modernizing influence in the field of miniatures. His name has been registered on Britain’s list of 2000 Outstanding Intellectuals of the 21st century, and collectors feel it a great honor to possess one of his creations.
Farshchian was among the 40 Iranian artists honored by the National Library and Archives of Iran for their outstanding works created about the tragedy of Ashura over the past century.
Photo: “The Guarantor of the Gazelle 2” on display at the Astan-e Qods Razavi Museum in Mashhad.