Moʿin Moṣavver | Manuscripts | Shahnama of Ferdowsi

Manuscript D, folio 106

Šāpur, Son of Hormozd, Enthroned

The format of the painting is in the form of an L, the vertical portion of which is entirely relegated to the left margin. The main action, however, takes place across the bottom, where five personage in turbans and long robes of various colors wait in a procession bearing gifts. To the right of them, two dignitaries, evidently elders, are seated. Visible between them but further in the background, is the object of all the attention, the young Šāpur II. Although less than six weeks old when placed on the throne, Šāpur is portrayed not as a baby, but rather as a diminutive adult. He sits on a canopy covered elevated throne, fully clothed with a dagger in his belt and crown on his head. The light mauve color tiled wall of the palace serves as a backdrop, and in the left margin the illustration continues upward where there is a covered balcony on the second level. Two females are sitting on the balcony. One is an attendant, but the other wears a crown which might suggest that she is the young shah’s mother. Above them is yet a third story consisting of another balcony surmounted by a pavilion that is partially obscured by the text.

There are four columns of text above the horizontal portion of the illustration which are comprised of, from right to left, seventeen, sixteen, sixteen, and seventeen lines of text respectively. In addition, a single line of two columns is positioned at the bottom left. A rectangular ruled frame encloses the text and the painting on the right side and bottom, but is omitted on the left side below the text. The illustration continues through this opening into the left margin and is there extended upward to the top of the text. The painting is signed near the center of the lower margin in miniscule characters in Moʿin’s hand: raqam zad kamina moʿin-e moṣavver. No date is indicated.

Painting references:
Cambridge Shahnameh Project where the incorrect page is displayed.

Text references:
Warner, VI, pp.328-30. Mohl, V, pp.340-41. Levy, p.285

Robert Eng
Last Updated: May 30, 2012 | Originally published: May 7, 2003

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