Moʿin Moṣavver | Manuscripts | Shahnama of Ferdowsi

Manuscript B, no. 2-

Garsivaz and Goruy Slay Siyāvoš

Location: The Israel Museum, Jerusalem #B69-0582. Formerly in the Davud Collection.
Page: 35.4 x 21.8 cm.
24.8 x 14.1 cm. (scaled)
Text area: 28.7 x 14.3 cm.
Signature The painting is reportedly signed by Moʿin in the lower margin.

Also removed from the manuscript, this painting illustrates the execution of Siyāvoš at the hands of the Turanian Goruy under orders from Garsiavz. Siyāvoš was an Iranian prince, the son of Kay Kavos. He decided to leave Iran and go to the court of Afrāsiyāb because his stepmother had become enamored of him and then denounced him. In Turan he fell in love with and married the daughter of Afrāsiyāb. His good fortune did not last, however, because jealous courtiers turned Afrasiyab against him and he was doomed. Here the ringleader Garsivaz has ordered Goruy to murder Siyāvoš. Goruy dragged him out into the countryside by his beard and then beheaded him, allowing his blood to run into a bowl.

The reason for excising this illustration from the manuscript probably has more to do with the popularity of the scene than with the innate qualities of the painting. Such well-known episodes would presumably have sold better than the more obscure images such as The Divan of Ṭahmurās (ms.B, no. 1-126).

Painting references:
Milstein,Israel_1984, p.86, no.63 (not ill.).
Cambridge Shahnameh Project (not illustrated)
Canby_ Journal_2010, p.64-65 no.10 and p.65 fig.6.

Text references: Warner, II, pp.320-21; Mohl, II, p.327.

Photo: © The Israel Museum, Jerusalem

For other versions of this subject by Moʿin, see Ms.C, folio 112r and Ms.E, 2-320

Sheila R. Canby
Last Updated: April 17, 2014 | Previously published Eng: April 14, 2011 | Originally published Canby: 2010