Moʿin Moṣavver | Manuscripts | Shahnama of Ferdowsi

Manuscript E, no. 1-272

Zāl Meets Rudāba

Location: Aga Khan Museum, Toronto. Formerly in the Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan Collection, no. Ir.M 43v
Welch gives the dimensions as 30 x 15 cm. without further elaboration; most likely these are the dimensions of the painting.
four column; deepest column 17 lines on a 30 line per full page matrix.
Illustration number:
The number 8 written in an Arabic numeral, presumably of later date, appears in the upper right margin, probably indicating that it was the eighth painting in the manuscript.

The composition is nearly symmetrical. Zāl and Rudāba are seated in the center foreground. She wears a long vermilion dress with a gold sash, and a gold crown. Behind her are two pillows. Zāl is portrayed in a purple coat with gold trim, a jewel studded crown, with a sword and bow on his belt. His right arm is around the shoulder of Rudāba; with his left hand he gently holds one of her’s. A purple cloth with several decanters and dishes is spread before the couple. On each side stands a female attendant, similarly attired in vermilion or blue, holding decanters. This entire central scene, which corresponds to the width of the two central columns, is tied together as a self contained unit by a blue multi-lobed arch, behind which is a white panel painted in blue foliage. Attached on each side is an appendage, each a column width wide. In the left appendage, a young lady dressed in yellow draws away a purple curtain to peer out. In the right appendage is a panel executed entirely in blue, portraying two storks under a multi-lobed arch. A roofed pavilion and the tops of trees emerge in the upper margin. Off to the right is a delicately drawn roofed balcony.

There are two columns of text above the painting, each comprised of four lines. Below the painting are four columns of text; the two outer columns are each comprised of 17 lines, and the center columns of 14 lines each. A ruled frame encloses painting and text, except for the trees, pavilion, and balcony, which extend into the top and right margins. The margins have been trimmed; thus, any signature that may have been there have been lost. Although unsigned and undated, the style and quality is consistent with the other paintings signed by Moʿin in this manuscript to warrant an attribution to him. This illustration is the verso of 1-270.

Painting references:
Welch, AK2_1972, Ir.M.43 verso (not ill.)

Text references:

Warner, I, pp. 272-73; Mohl, I, pp. 207-10; Levy, p. 45.

Photo courtesy of Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan

Robert Eng

Last Updated: April 18, 2013 | Originally published: May 21, 2003