Moʿin Moṣavver | Manuscripts | Shahnama of Ferdowsi

Manuscript C, folio 86r

Tahmina Mourns over the Body of Her Son Soḥrāb

The painting portrays Tahmina kneeling on the floor in the right-center of the composition. She wears a dark, long-sleeved dress, open in front, and a white sheath wrapped around and covering most of her body. In a gesture of grief she tugs at her long loose hair with her right hand, while with her left she cradles the head of her son in her lap. The body of Soḥrāb is stretched our before her on the ground, still clad in the same apparel worn in his combat with Rostam (cf. folio 84), including the crown, but his eyes are shut, and the shirt has been removed from his shoulder and right side of his chest, revealing his wounded body. Six other females are portrayed in the scene, all of whom tear at their hair in grief, except for one in the lower right corner who instead pulls at the neckline of her dress. Three of them are disposed on the extreme right, two kneeling and one standing, behind Tahmina. Two more are seated in the lower left foreground, one of whom cradles Soḥrāb’s legs in her lap. Lastly, in the center-right foreground, are the head and arms of a more elderly woman tearing at her hair. The remainder of her body is cropped by the frame. The setting is the interior of a palace decorated with tiles and panels of foliage that serve as a flat backdrop for the mourning scene. On the extreme left the painting juts out beyond the frame to include an upward extension of the building with a small pavilion on top.

There are four columns of text above the illustration, two columns of which are comprised of eleven lines each, and the remaining columns have ten lines each. Below the painting the text continues, again in four columns, of which two have one line each, and the other two have two lines of text each. The painting is signed in the lower margin, just to the right of center, in miniscule characters in Moʿin’s hand: raqam zad kamina moʿin-e moṣavver. The inscription does not include a date.

Painting references:
Welch, AK4_1978, p.89, Ms.22, folio 86r (not illustrated).
Text references:

Warner, II, p.184-86; Mohl, II, p.149.

Robert Eng
Last Updated: June 23, 2011 | Originally published:
June 23, 2011

Photo: © Aga Khan Trust for Culture, Geneva