Moʿin Moṣavver | Manuscripts | Shahnama of Ferdowsi

Manuscript D, folio 197v

The Death of Bahrām Čubina

The dying Bahrām Čubina lies on a bed in the center of the composition, dressed an olive colored robe and crown, having already been mortally wounded by Qalun’s knife. His sister Gordiya lies at his side, in a purple dress decorated with gold arabesques, embracing him and pressing her cheek to his in order to hear Bahrām’s last words. Nine other personage are depicted, of which eight are females, all tearing at their unfurled hair or breasts in the conventionalized depiction of grief and mourning. Their olive, gray, yellow, or maroon dresses have been vent open at the front accordingly. Four other females, apparently servants, are more restrained - two in the upper left, and two others in the foreground whose lower extremities are cropped by the frame. They wear olive, red, or purple dress, tiaras on their heads, and čadors lowered over their shoulders. In the lower left foreground is the single male observer, apparently a holy man, bearded, with a white turban and light blue robe, seated reading from a scroll. The setting is the inside of a tiled hexagonal pavilion, the roof and rooftop pavilion of which, flanked by two pairs of cypress trees, extends into the upper margin.

Painting: 20 .5 x 12.5 cm. (not including extension in the upper margin). There are three lines of four column text above the painting, and two additional lines below. A rectangular ruled frame encloses painting and text, with only the rooftop pavilion and cypress trees violating the frame and protruding into the upper margin. The folio is signed in the lower margin with miniscule characters in Moʿin’s handwriting: ze towfiq ṣānʿe raqam zad moʿin (Drawn with the grace of the Maker by Moʿin). It is not dated.

Painting references:
Cambridge Shahnameh Project
Text references:
Warner, VIII, p.340. Mohl, VII, p.186. Levy, p.371.

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

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