Iskandar (Alexander) builds a wall against Gog and Magog, from the Book of Divination (Falnama) recto

Unknown and Malik al-Daylami

Chester Beatty

Chester Beatty
Dublin, Ireland

Iskandar (Alexander) builds a wall against Gog and Magog, folio from the Book of Divination (Falnama). Iskandar sits in conversation with the prophets Khidr and Ilyas (Elijah), while a team of demons (divs) and men toil together to build Iskandar's bronze wall against the monstrous inhabitants of Gog and Magog.
Detached folio, ink, pigments and gold on paper, full-page painting on recto, Persian text on verso, Qazvin, Iran, c. 1550-1560.
This is from a large-scale copy of the Falnama produced for the Safavid Shah Tahmasp, and now dispersed in international collections. There are two folios in the Chester Beatty (CBL Per 395.1 and 395.2). The Falnama is not intended to be read from cover to cover, but consulted for divination: the seeker opens a page at random, and that chosen page-opening provides the intended augury, in answer to their question. The text (beginning: "O augury user...") is on the left and a large painting (often depicting sacred figures and prophets) is on the right. For this page-opening, depicting Alexander the Great, the future is positive.


  • Title: Iskandar (Alexander) builds a wall against Gog and Magog, from the Book of Divination (Falnama) recto
  • Creator: Unknown, Malik al-Daylami
  • Date Created: C. 1555
  • Location: Chester Beatty, Dublin, Ireland
  • Location Created: Qazvin, Iran
  • Physical Dimensions: 595 x 450 mm
  • Original Language: Persian
  • Type: Folio, Painting
  • Original Source: https://www.chesterbeatty.ie/
  • Rights: © The Trustees of the Chester Beatty Library, Dublin
  • Medium: Paper, Pigment, Ink, Gold
  • Collection Number: CBL Per 395.1

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