Moʿin Moṣavver | Manuscripts | Shahnama of Ferdowsi

Manuscript B, no. 3-

The Div Akvān Carries Rostam to the Sea

Location: The Israel Museum, Jerusalem #B69-0554. 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.

Kay Ḵosrow summoned Rostam and asked him to find and kill a div who had been taking the form of an onager and savaging herds. Rostam set out on his quest and eventually lay down to sleep in a meadow. The div, Akvan, spied him and dug around where Rostam was sleeping, picking him up along with the earth on which he was resting. The div then gave Rostam the choice of being dashed on the mountains or thrown into the sea. Cleverly Rustam chose the mountains, knowing that Akvan would do the opposite and he would be able to survive. This episode often appears in illustrated Shahnamas because it not only reaffirms the strength and cunning of Rostam but is also humorous and colorful.

For a later version of this subject by Moʿin, see Ms.G f170v.

Painting references:
Milstein,Israel_1984, p.87, no.66 (ill.).
Cambridge Shahnameh Project

Canby_ Journal_2010, p.68-69 no.19 and p.68 fig.9.

Text references:
Warner, III, pp.276-78; Mohl, III, pp.222-23; Levy, pp.148-49.

Photo: © The Israel Museum, Jerusalem

Sheila R. Canby
Last Updated: June 20, 2014 | Previously published Eng: April 07, 2011 | Originally published Canby: 2010