Moʿin Moṣavver | Manuscripts | Shahnama of Ferdowsi

Manuscript B, no. 5-288
(David folio 214b)

The Hanging of Farāmarz

Location: The David Collection, Copenhagen, Denmark, #217/2006, folio 214b.
35.2 x 21.8 cm.
23.3 x 11.7 cm. (Scaled)
Text area: 28.8 x 14.7 cm. (Scaled)
Signature in the center of the lower margin: raqam-e kamina moʿin-e moṣavver.

Bahman succeeded his grandfather, Goštāsp. To punish Zāl, the father of Rostam and ruler of Zābol, Bahman had Zāl chained and plundered his palace and lands. Learning of Zāl's fate, his grandson Farāmarz decided to go to war against Bahman. The armies fought for three days, but the tide turned against Farāmarz and he was left battling, wounded and alone. When Farāmarz was brought before Bahman, the shah showed him no mercy, ordering that he be hanged upside down while still alive.

Here Bahman in his jeweled crown and robe of gold observes on horseback as Farāmarz is hoisted with a noose around his neck, suspended from a hook. Moʿin has not followed the text by showing him upside down. Rather the action centers on the mounted archers firing at the torso of Farāmarz. Instead of figures watching the execution from the horizon, as in most of Moʿin's illustrations, all of them except the king are engaged in killing their enemy. A simplified version of this composition appears in the John Rylands Library Shahnameh of 1650 (Pers. 909).

Painting references:
Canby_ Journal_2010, p. 74 no. 35 and p.104, fig.36.

Text references:

Warner, V, pp.287-88.

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

Sheila R. Canby

Last Updated: July 27, 2014 | Originally published: 2010