Moʿin Moṣavver | Manuscripts | Shahnama of Ferdowsi

Manuscript C, folio 104r

The Marriage of Siyāvoš and Farangis

The setting for the painting is the inside of a luxurious palace. Siyāvoš and Farangis are seated on an elevated throne of uncertain shape in the right-center of the composition. Wearing crowns and long robes, they are locked in their own private world with eyes only for each other. With his arm affectionately around her shoulder, Siyāvoš offers Farangis a small fruit with his right hand. The couple are framed by a tiled column and lintel which enclose a multilobed arched panel decorated with delicate representations of foliage, in the center of which is a tiled niche or doorway. On the left side of the composition is a grouping of six females, three standing and three seated. The two in the near foreground are musicians, the remainder are attendants bearing food and drink; all wear long dresses knotted with a sash at the waist, tiaras, and čadors that cover their shoulders but are lowered leaving their faces exposed. In the upper left the palace has a second storey with a window, from behind which the head and upper torso of another female with long black hair and tiara appears. Directly above her, beyond the frame, is a bulbous tiled dome, and to the right of it the top of a cypress tree and a small pavilion. In the center of the near foreground is a small, elongated-octagon shaped pool, shown in plan, with a small fountain and two ducks. Behind it, scattered on the floor, are various plates of fruit and decanters of drink. To the right of the pool is another female servant, similarly attired, sitting motionless with her hands in her lap and a tray beside her.

The accompanying text is organized in four columns, two lines each above and below the painting. A rectangular ruled frame encloses illustration and text except on the left side where it encloses only the text. Otherwise the frame on the left side is non-existent and the painting spills into the left margin without restraint. Additionally, at the top, the bulbous dome, cypress tree, and small pavilion exist entirely in the upper margin as if the frame and text were overprinted in front of them. The face of the young lady on the far left has suffered from wear and her features are barely discernible; otherwise there appears to be no significant signs of damage or retouching. 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 is not dated.

Painting references:
Welch, AK4_1978, p.90, Ms.22, folio 104r (not ill.).
Text references:

Warner, II, pp.274-76; Mohl, II, p.266.

Robert Eng
Last Updated: June 29, 2011 | Originally published:
June 29, 2011

Photo: © Aga Khan Trust for Culture, Geneva