Tavakoli, Esmail

Rustam with Mace (Legendary Hero)

Image for Rustam with Mace (Legendary Hero)

Tavakoli—who is better known as Masht Esmail—was an untutored janitor in a sculpture workshop who was uninvolved in artistic debates and partisan views. Allowed to use the workshop in the Department of Fine Arts at the University of Tehran during closing hours, he created a number of works that translate the domestic animals and tradespeople of his rural home into abstract forms. This sculpture, however, portrays Rustam, the legendary hero of the Persian epic poem known as the Shahnameh (Book of Kings). Its 60,000 verses, written by the poet Firdausi between 977 and 1010 C.E., chronicle the mythical and historical past of Iran from the creation of the world until the fall of the Sasanian Empire and the conquest of Persia by Muslims in the 7th century.

Medium Welded metal steel
Dimensions 13 1/2 x 6 x 3 1/2 in.
Credit Line Grey Art Gallery, New York University Art Collection
Donor Gift of Abby Weed Grey
Object ID G1984.3


Collection Years: n.d.