Moʿin Moṣavver | Manuscripts | Shahnama of Ferdowsi

Manuscript E, no. 5-125

Esfandiyār's Second Exploit: He Fights the Lions

Location: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Acc. no. 1974.290.43
36.5 x 22.2 cm.

Text area: 25.2 x 14.3 cm.
Text: four column; deepest column 16 lines on a 30 line per full page matrix.
Illustration number:
The number 60 written in Arabic numerals, presumably of later date, appears in the lower right margin, probably indicating that it was the sixtieth painting in the manuscript.

The day after Esfandiyār's first exploit in which he killed the two wolves (see ms.E, no.5-122), he was faced with yet a new challenge. His second exploit pitted him against a ferocious lion and lioness. The composition is not that much different than the previous exploit: Esfandiyār, astride a black mount, charges directly towards the lioness, and brings his sword down on her head. Her male companion lies in the the foreground motionless having already been attended to by Esfandiyār. The foreground is covered with lush vegetation; the backdrop, over which two of Esfandiyār's soldiers witness the event, is a darker purple hillside tipped with yellow-orange accents. A blue was sky typical of Moʿin is in the far background.

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 chapter title captivated in the upper text area. A rectangular ruled frame encloses painting and text, except on the right side where the rear quarters of Esfandiyār's horse violate the frame and extend into the right margin. 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, V, p.124-25. Mohl IV, pp.399-400.

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

Robert Eng

Last Updated: June 8, 2013 | Originally published: June 8, 2013