Moʿin Moṣavver | Manuscripts | Shahnama of Ferdowsi

Manuscript C, folio 201v

Pirān and Gudarz Battle

Pirān, the commander of the Turānian forces, is portrayed in the illustration as an old man with a long white beard, seated in the upper right at the top of the hill. He appears to fully realize that his time had come. In his left hand he holds a shield, and in his right a lance which he points in the direction of his younger adversary stalking him at the bottom of the hill. Gudarz, the Iranian commander, shown in profile in the lower left foreground, proceeds on foot up the hill in pursuit of his aged opponent. He approaches steadfastly, but warily, his shield held high in his right hand, and his left arm poised with a lance. The forequarters of a horse and a groom in the lower right foreground are the only observers to the battle portrayed in the scene. The hillside setting is composed in three levels: a narrow band of verdure in the foreground, an exaggerated rock formation with a bush in the middle ground, and near the top, a coral-like rock outcropping with sparse vegetation. A dark sky completes the background.

There are four columns of text consisting of four lines of text above the painting, and two lines below. A rectangular ruled frame encloses painting and text. There are no violations of the frame. The painting is signed in the lower margin, just to the right of center, in miniscule characters in Moʿin’s hand: ze towfiq ṣānʿe raqam zad moʿin (Drawn with the grace of the Maker, by the most humble Moʿin). No date is indicated.

For another version of this scene also painted by Moʿin, see Ms.G, folio 203.

Painting references:
Welch, AK4_1978, p.90, Ms.22, folio 199r (not ill.).
Text references:

Warner, IV, pp.106-09; Mohl, III, pp.464-65.

Robert Eng
Last Updated: July 13, 2011 | Originally published:
July 13, 2011

Photo: © Aga Khan Trust for Culture, Geneva