Moʿin Moṣavver | Manuscripts | Shahnama of Ferdowsi

Manuscript D, folio 66v

Eskandar with Rošanak in the Harām

The painting is roughly square in shape but not confined to the width of the text; rather it extends irregularly into the right margin for a distance of what would be an additional two or three text columns. Eskandar and his consort Rošanak are seated on an elevated hexagonal throne in the upper right. He wears a red robe and a crown, she is attired in an olive colored dress. Behind them is a multi-lobed arched panel painted with representations of foliage, and above is a roof with a bulbous dome glazed with light mauve tiles, and a small pavilion. The floor in front of them is also tiled in light mauve, with a small rectangular pool in the center surrounded by several candlesticks. A middle aged man with a turban and walking stick appears in the lower right corner. On the left side of the composition, in that portion corresponding to the width of the text, five young female servants are lined up, some seated, others standing, holding musical instruments or vessels of drink. They are variously attired in long dresses of blue, purple, red, and olive. Below them is an off-white floor (or carpet?) decorated with delicate arabesques, in the center of which is another rectangular pool surrounded by a number of bottles and platters of fruit and condiments. A tiled octagonal pavilion surmounted by a smaller pavilion serves as a backdrop for the servants, and in the extreme background is a mauve hillside and two cypress trees.

Painting: irregular shape 22.4 x 22.1 cm. There are four columns of text comprised of two or three lines each above the painting, and two lines of four column text below. A rectangular ruled frame encloses painting and text except on the right side where the frame is omitted between the upper and lower text blocks, allowing the painting to spill freely into the right margin. Signed near the center of the lower margin in miniscule characters in Moʿin’s handwriting: raqam zad ze towfiq ṣānʿe moʿin (Drawn with the grace of the Maker by Moʿin). No date is indicated.

Painting references:
Kühnel, Survey_1939, pl.922.
Stchoukine, SA_1964, p.65 (not ill.).
Cambridge Shahnameh Project where it is identified as "Iskandar marries Raushanak"
Text references:
Warner, VI, pp.89-91. Mohl, V, p.88. Levy, p.236.

Robert Eng
Last Updated: January 12, 2011 |
Originally published: May 7, 2003

Photo: © The Trustees of The Chester Beatty Library, Dublin