About Art – Illustrations for “The Knight in the Panther’s Skin” by Datto Machavariani

Illustrations for an edition of the Georgian epic poem “The Knight in the Panther’s Skin” (Georgian: ვეფხისტყაოსანი), drawn by Georgian artist Datto Machavariani and published by Bakur Sulakauri Publishing House in 2011.

Illustration for “The Knight in the Panther’s Skin”, drawn by Datto Machavariani

Illustration for “The Knight in the Panther’s Skin”, drawn by Datto Machavariani

“The Knight in the Panther’s Skin” poem was written in the 12th century by the Georgian poet Shota Rustaveli (Georgian: შოთა რუსთაველი) and dedicated to Tamar the Great (Georgian: თამარი). It is considered to be a masterpiece of Georgian literature.

Illustration for “The Knight in the Panther’s Skin”, drawn by Datto Machavariani

Illustration for “The Knight in the Panther’s Skin”, drawn by Datto Machavariani

Consisting of 1666 stanzas and 6500 lines, its story embodies the medieval knightly ideals of chivalry, friendship, courtly love and courage.

Illustration for “The Knight in the Panther’s Skin”, drawn by Datto Machavariani

Illustration for “The Knight in the Panther’s Skin”, drawn by Datto Machavariani

Several manuscripts of the poem were lost or destroyed during the numerous invasions of Georgia but oral traditions preserved it and the first print edition was made in 1712 in Tbilisi.

Illustration for “The Knight in the Panther’s Skin”, drawn by Datto Machavariani

Illustration for “The Knight in the Panther’s Skin”, drawn by Datto Machavariani

The poem describes how Avtandil (Georgian: ავთანდილი), a young Arabian nobleman, helps his friend Tariel (the knight in the panther’s skin), to rescue an Indian princess from sorcerers.

Illustration for “The Knight in the Panther’s Skin”, drawn by Datto Machavariani

Illustration for “The Knight in the Panther’s Skin”, drawn by Datto Machavariani

 

Illustration for “The Knight in the Panther’s Skin”, drawn by Datto Machavariani

Illustration for “The Knight in the Panther’s Skin”, drawn by Datto Machavariani

Photos courtesy of Datto Machavariani and Bakur Sulakauri Publishing House.

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