Moʿin Moṣavver | Manuscripts | Shahnama of Ferdowsi

Manuscript B, no. 4-050
(David folio 136b)

Bižan Beheads Humān

The David Collection, Copenhagen, Denmark, #217/2006, folio 136b.
35.2 x 21.8 cm.
23.1 x 11.4 cm. including painted spaces between the text columns. (Scaled)
Text area: 28.5 x 14.1 cm. (Scaled)
Signature in the center of the lower margin: raqam-e kamina moʿin-e moṣavver.

As the Iranians and Turanians massed for battle, Bizhan fought long and hard against Human. Finally Bizhan bested his foe and beheaded him. Here Human's head is visible hanging from Bizhan *s sad­dle, ready to be carried back and presented as a tro­phy to the Iranian army. This scene is very common in illustrated Shahnameh manuscripts. However, Bizhan is repeatedly shown in the act of slitting Human's throat, whereas Mu'in has chosen the moment after he has beheaded Human. The compo-sition is somewhat awkward because Human's body is slightly too large for the space it occupies, so that his headless torso appears to lean against Bizhan's horse's legs while at the other end Bizhan stands on Human's right leg

Painting references:
Canby_ Journal_2010, p.69-70 no. 22 and p.97, fig.29.

Text references:

Warner, III, pp. 292-94.

Photo: Permille Klemp. Courtesy of The David Collection, Copenhagen

Sheila R. Canby

Last Updated: June 20, 2014 | Originally published: 2010