Moʿin Moṣavver | Manuscripts | Shahnama of Ferdowsi

Manuscript D, folio 175

Benduy and Gostaham Assassinate Shah Hormozd

The painting is a vertical rectangle in shape with appendages on the left and top. It is divided into two registers corresponding to two stories of the royal palace, the upper being an interior view, the lower being exterior. On the right side of the upper register Shah Hormozd is being cast headlong from his throne by three soldiers wearing pointed steel helmets. His crown has already fallen from his head and is shown in mid-air on the way to the floor. The soldiers draw a bowstring taught around his neck and his life is about to be extinguished. On the left, two additional personages wearing turbans, apparently Benduy and Gostaham -- the actual plotters of the assassination -- move toward an open doorway hoping to escape before they are discovered by Bahrām Čubina, who is portrayed in the lower register arriving with a detachment of troops at the palace. To the right of him are two diminutive grooms silhouetted before an open doorway that leads into the palace.

Painting: irregular shape 19.4 x 15.5 cm.The text is written in four columns above the painting, consisting of, from right to left, seven, seven, six, and six lines of text respectively. In additional, a single line of two column text is written in the lower left. A rectangular ruled frame encloses painting and text, except on the left side where it is omitted below the text, allowing the painting to continue an additional column width into the left margin. The painting is also extended upward in the left margin to the top of the text where a balcony, two pavilions, and five cypress trees protrude into the upper margin. The painting is signed in the center of the lower margin in miniscule characters in Moʿin’s hand: ze towfiq ṣānʿe raqam zad moʿin (Drawn with the grace of the Maker by Moʿin). No date is indicated.

Cf. Manuscript E, no.13 for another version of this subject by Moʿin.

Painting references:
Cambridge Shahnameh Project
Text references:
Warner, VIII, p.232. Mohl, VII, pp.47-48. Levy, p.355.

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

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