Suigan (of Chuiwan). 1566


Horns blare and drums thunder as four men contest a team match of chawgán in a purpose-built stadium with a smooth playing surface. Two sets of goal posts mark the end of the field, where caddies hold replacement mallets. Spectators watch from the elevated grandstand as the leading horseman, left, prepares a powerful stroke to drive the ball away from his goal.

A game of suigan and the Dervish, The Ephemeral Nature of Mortals, Persian illuminated manuscript folio. Anonymous master, 1566, first published in Arifi, the Ball and Polo Stick of the Book of Extasy, London, England, 1932.


• Golf through the ages by Michael Flannery, pages 80 and 87. January 2004