Moʿin Moṣavver | Manuscripts | Shahnama of Ferdowsi

Manuscript E, no. 2-320

Goruy Executes Siyāvoš

Location: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Acc. no. 1974.290.43
36.5 x 22.2 cm.
16.3 x 14.3 cm (scaled, max. size without narrow extensions between columns).
Text area: 25.2 x 14.3 cm.
Text: four column; deepest column 15 lines on a 30 line per full page matrix.
Illustration number:
The number 26 written in Arabic numerals, presumably of later date, appears in the upper right margin, probably indicating that it was the twenty-sixth painting in the manuscript.

The subject is a popular choice amongst illustrations of the Shahnama. Depicted at the center of the composition is Siyāvoš, his hands bound behind his back, and held firmly by the hair by the Turānian officer Goruy, who, with a knife provided by Garsivaz, is about to sever his head. Another Turānian soldier kneels before them with a shallow bowl to receive the head and the blood that is about to be spilled. The execution was ordered by the Turānian king Afrāsiyāb after Garsivaz had falsely accused him - Garsivaz was present at the execution, but is nowhere here shown. Two horses and grooms, wait in the upper right and left corners; they are, presumably, the mounts for the two executioners. Four other Turānian soldiers observe or assist in the event from various locations. The setting is a barren, sloping hillside rises to a rocky crest. It reaches a rocky pinnacle near the top at which point a small tree and bush grow. A blue wash sky at the extreme top completes the scene.

This page is part of the re-bound rump volume known as the "Gutman Shahnama". There are four columns of text above and below the painting. A rectangular ruled frame encloses painting and text, except on the right side where a single standard violates the frame and protrudes into the right margin. The painting is not signed or dated.

For two other versions of this subject by Moʿin, see ms.B, 2-320 and ms.C, f.112R

Painting references:
- search collections for 1974.290.43.

Text references:

Warner, II, p.320-21. Mohl, II, p.327.

Photo: © The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Bequest of Monroe C. Gutman, 1974.

Robert Eng

Last Updated: June 6, 2013 | Originally published: June 6, 2013