Moʿin Moṣavver | Manuscripts | Shahnama of Ferdowsi

Manuscript E, no. 4-181

Kay Ḵosrow's Ongoing War with Turān;
Fariborz Slays Turānian Hero Farṭus, Minučehr Confronts Kohilā

Location: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Acc. no. 1974.290.43
36.5 x 22.2 cm.
19.4 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 10 lines on a 30 line per full page matrix.
Illustration number:
The number 48 written in Arabic numerals, presumably of later date, appears in the right margin, probably indicating that it was the forty-eighth painting in the manuscript.

After Rostam rescued Bižan from the pit, he led a night attack against Afrāsiyāb's palace, and gradually the hostilities between Iran and Turān are reignited. Vast armies from each side are assembled and confront each other, and the heros from each side are paired in eleven single combats with the Iranians triumphing every time. The first two of these single combats are illustrated here -- Fariborz versus Farṭus, and Minučehr versus Kohilā. While Fariborz and Minučehr are well known in the Shahnama, this is the only mention of Farṭus and Kahilā -- a single line for each.

These two battles took place a considerble distance from each other -- one on the Turānian left flank, and the other on their right flank -- but Moʿin has taken artist's liberty and portrayed the two combats only a few feet from each other. In the lower right corner, Fariborz has already dispatched Farṭus with his lance, and he lies prostrate in the foreground under the hooves of his own mount. Behind them - that is further back in the pictorial space - the young Minučehr, in a yellow tunic, confronts "equal to 100 elephants" Kahilā. Minučhehr too was successful in overcoming his adversary. The setting is a mauve colored barren hillside with a rocky crest. Two horn blowers and one additional observer peer over the ridge at the top, and beyond them

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 with a rectangular ruled frame enclosing illustration and text. Signed in the center of the lower margin: raqam-e kamina moʿin-e moṣavver.

Painting references:
- search collections for 1974.290.43

Text references:

Warner, IV, p.181.

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

Robert Eng

Last Updated: July 21, 2013 | Originally published: July 21, 2013