Moʿin Moṣavver | Manuscripts | Shahnama of Ferdowsi

Manuscript D, folio 109v

Bārānuš on the Throne of Rum, Sends a Letter to Šāpur

Bārānuš was placed on the throne of Rome by the army. But he knew that further battles with the Sasanian king would be harmful to his empire. Accordingly, he penned a letter to Šāpur proposing a peace settlement, and dispatched it with a trusted messenger to deliver to him. The distinguished figure on the far right, sporting a neatly groomed beard, long brocaded robe, and tall Ottoman headdress, can be identified as Bārānuš, the caesar of Rum. He is seated on an elevated hexagonal throne in front of an arched panel delicately painted with foliage, with an attendant standing behind him ceremonially holding his sword. Seated before Bārānuš, with a white beard, yellow-orange robe, light blue coat, and turban, is his distinguished messenger. Further to the left, five members of the entourage, attired in robes of orange and maroon stand with hands clasped or gesturing in conversation.

The format of the painting is in the form of a reverse L, the text written above the horizontal portion, and the vertical portion of the painting existing entirely in the right margin. Within this vertical section is the enthroned caesar, and above his head the additional stories of his palace that includes two balconies, a roof-top pavilion, an open doorway, and two trees on the balcony. There are four columns of text above the horizontal portion of the painting. A chapter title is captivated near the top of the two center columns, and an additional line of two column text is written at the bottom left. A rectangular frame encloses the text on the top and both sides, and the painting on the left side and halfway across the bottom. The frame is omitted on the remainder of the bottom and on the right side below the text, allowing the painting to continue freely into the right margin where it is extended vertically to the top of the text. The page is signed in the lower margin, in miniscule characters in Moʿin's hand: ze towfiq ṣānʿe raqam zad moʿin. (Drawn with the grace of the Maker by Moøin). Not dated..

Painting references:
Cambridge Shahnameh Project

Text references:
Warner, VI, pp.353-54.

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

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