Moʿin Moṣavver | Manuscripts | Shahnama of Ferdowsi

Manuscript E, no. 2-052

Rostam's Fourth Feat: He Cleaves a Witch

Location: Current whereabouts unknown
30.5 x 19.5 cm (all dimensions after Sothebys)
26.0 x 14.0 cm. including vertical extensions between text columns.
Text area: 26.0 x 14.0 cm.
Text: four column; deepest column 20 lines on a 30 line per full page matrix.
Illustration number: The number 16 written in Arabic numerals, presumably of later date, appears in the right margin, probably indicating that it was the sixteenth painting in the manuscript.

The illustration depicts the episode at the moment that Rostam discovers that he is really confronting a witch and not a young maiden, and has ensnared her with his lasso lest she get away. He will subsequently cleave her to death. Rostam is clad in his typical animal skins. On the ground before them is some lush vegetation typifying the meadow, on which is set food and drink which Rostam had been enjoying. The haggard witch, dressed in vermilion, has already been exposed and is dragged toward Rostam. And on the far right, Rostam's faithful steed Raḵš appears half in and half out of the picture. The backdrop is a nondescript hillside with a rocky ridge and a blue wash sky beyond.

Signed in the center of the lower margin: raqam-e kamina moʿin-e moṣavver.

Ms. E, no. 2-050 is on the recto of this leaf.

Painting references:
Sothebys London, 3 October 2012, Lot 72.

Text references:

Warner, II, p.50-52; Mohl, I, p.413.

Photo courtesy of Sothebys.

Robert Eng

Last Updated: April 25, 2013 | Originally published:
April 25, 2013