Moʿin Moṣavver | Manuscripts | Shahnama of Ferdowsi

Manuscript B, no. 5-208

Rostam and Esfandiyār Hand-wrestle

Location: Private collection


Text area:

In the build-up to the final battle between Rostam and Esfandiyār, each man boasted of his valor and strength. Goštāsp, the shah and father of Esfandiyār, had bid him to find Rostam and return with Rustam in chains to the court, knowing that the prince would fail. In their conversation, Esfandiyār grasped and squeezed Rostam's hand, but the warrior did not flinch. In turn, he squeezed Esfandiyār's hand until the prince's face turned red and blood oozed from his fingernails. In the painting, the two seated protagonists face each other and engage in their hand clinch. Characteristically, despite the teeth-gnashing and face-reddening described in the text, Moʿin's figures have remained impassive. The short yellow curtains and centrally placed pole identify the setting as the interior of a tent.

Painting references:
Canby_ Journal_2010, p.73 no. 33.

Text references:

Warner, V, pp. 207-10.

Photo: not illustrated

Sheila R. Canby

Last Updated: July 24, 2014 | Originally published: 2010

Photo not available