This painting depicts an episode from the tale of the Div Akvan, from the epic poem, Shahnama of Firdausi. It relates the story of how the hero, Rustam, during his search for the giant demon, div Avkan, was captured while he was sleeping. The demon threatens to either hurl him to the mountains and left to die or plunge him to the sea.The Shahnama (the Book of Kings) is a legendary epic tale on the history of Persia by the 10th century poet Firdausi. It has 62 stories, 990 chapters, and contains 60,000 rhyming couplets. Firdausi started his composition of the Shahnama in the Samanid era in 977 CE and completed it around 1010 CE during the Ghaznavid era. The Shahnama tells the mythical and historical past of Iran from the creation of the world up until the Islamic conquest of Iran in the 7th century.