This painting depicts a romantic scene from the life of Rustam, the Persian hero of the Shah Nama
, or Book of Kings
. Here Tahmineh, daughter of the King of Turan, visits Rustam at night. The verse reads in part:
Towards the unconscious warrior's pillow stepped a slave with perfumed candle, while behind her came a creature lovely as the moon, radiant as the sun, and fragrant in her beauty.
Although suggestive touches like this occur throughout the Shah Nama, the romantic adventures are didactic in nature and subordinate to the greater struggle of the good heroes against the forces of darkness.