Folio from a Falnama (Book of omens); verso: Expulsion of Adam and Eve; recto: text
Detached manuscript folio
Safavid period, mid 1550s
Opaque watercolor, ink and gold on paper
H x W: 59.7 x 44.9 cm (23 1/2 x 17 11/16 in)
Purchase — Smithsonian Unrestricted Trust Funds, Smithsonian Collections Acquisition Program, and Dr. Arthur M. Sackler
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Detached folio from a dispersed copy of Falnama (Book of omens); text: Persian in black nasta'liq script; recto: text, one column, eleven lines; verso: illustration: Expulsion of Adam and Eve; one of a group of twenty folios.
Border: The painting and text have occupied the full width of the page.
In this painting, Adam, whom Muslims consider the father of humanity and the first prophet, is depicted riding a serpent; Eve rides a peacock. According to tradition, Iblis, the Islamic counterpart to Satan, was intent on entering the Garden of Eden to foil Adam and Eve. By appealing to his vanity, Iblis enticed the peacock, the gatekeeper of paradise, to allow the serpent, then the most beautiful of all creatures, to enter Eden. Seated between the serpent's fangs, Iblis entered the garden and seduced Eve into eating the fruit of the forbidden tree.