Moʿin Moṣavver | Manuscripts | Shahnama of Ferdowsi

Manuscript E, no. 5-133

Esfandiyār’s Fifth Exploit: He Kills the Simorgh

Location: Museum of Islamic Art, Doha, ms.24.2007
34.3 x 22.5 cm. (after Welch)
not available
Text area: 25.7 x 14.7 cm. (measured by MIA)

Text: four column; deepest column 16 lines on a 30 line per full page matrix.
Illustration number: The number 63 written in black Arabic numerals, appears in the lower right margin, probably indicating that it was the sixty-third painting in the manuscript.

The painting is enclosed by the text blocks on the top and bottom, and the ruled frame on the left, but the frame on the right side is omitted permitting the composition to continue uninterrupted into the right margin, where it also extends upward to parallel the text columns. Esfandiyār’s war chariot with two harnessed horses stands in the lower right. The chariot is constructed of a carriage frame with four large wheels, on which is mounted a large black box containing the hidden Esfandiyār. Daggers with their points outward had been affixed to all surfaces of the box. A small stream, with plants and flowers growing on its banks, meanders down from the mountains in the upper left to the base of the carriage. Flying above the carriage, its long wavy tail extending into the right margin, is the giant simorgh, about to gobble up as a morsel the box with Esfandiyār inside. In the upper right, clustered among the rocks, is the simorgh’s nest with two chicks inside.

The painting is signed in the lower margin in
minuscule characters in Moʿin’s hand: raqam-e kamina moʿin-e moṣavver. No date is indicated.

See ms. E, 1-247 from this same manuscript for another portrayal of the Simorgh by Moʿin. Compare also ms. D, folio 25 for a similar conception of a related subject, “Esfandiyār Battles the Dragon”, also painted by Moʿin.

Photo: © Museum of Islamic Art, Doha, Qatar

Painting references:
Welch, SA_1973, no. 56 (illustrated)

Text references:

Warner, V, p.131-34; Mohl, IV, p.410.

Robert Eng

Last Updated: June 1, 2013 | Originally published:
May 21, 2003