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Iskandar Oversees the Building of the Wall

Iskandar Oversees the Building of the Wall - Per 395.1 Zoom

Iskandar Oversees the Building of the Wall

Book of Divinations
1550–60, Iran
Per 395.1


In Islamic tradition, a demon is known as a div, a non-human creature that lives within, but normally in opposition to, the world of men. Divs are frequently depicted in paintings, usually as horrific, scantily-clad and variously-coloured beasts with jagged horns, sharp claws and fangs, long tails and flaming eyebrows.

In Islam, Iskandar (Alexander the Great) is revered as both a great king and a prophet.This illustrated manuscript copy of the Book of Divinations (Falnama) was made for Tahmasp I (r. 1524–76) and references Iskandar. When, during his travels to the ends of the earth, his protection is sought against the Yajuj and Majuj people (Gog and Magog), he orders a wall constructed to keep them at bay. Although not normally part of the story, the artist has depicted a group of divs assisting in this task.


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Demon, Div, Islam, wall, Iskandar, Alexander the Great, divination

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