A page from Khamsa of Nizami - Harun al-Rashid in the bath-house

This miniature painting shows a scene from the Khamsa (Quintet) composed by the 12th century Azeri poet Nizami-ye Ganjavi. It depicts Harun al-Rashid (763-809 CE), the fifth and most famous caliph of the Abbasid period (750-1258 CE) at the centre, sitting by the bath with his head in the process of being shaved by a barber.Nizami-ye Ganjavi is considered one of the greatest romantic epic poets of Persian literature, renowned for his lyrical and sensuous style, and his mastery of the 'masnavi' style (double-rhymed verse). The Khamsa of Nizami is a collection of five classical poems and this illustrated scene here is from Khusrau and Shirin (1177-1180), one of the five stories in the Khamsa.