Moʿin Moṣavver | Manuscripts | Shahnama of Ferdowsi

Manuscript E, no. 5-184

Rostam, Roasting an Onager, Kicks Aside the Rock Pushed by Bahman

Location: Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, ROM2008_10363_7
36.2 x 22.4 cm
16.9 x 14.1 cm (scaled, max. size without narrow extensions between columns.)
Text area: 24.7 x 14.1 cm.
Text: four column; deepest columns 12 lines on a 30 line per full page matrix.
Illustration number: The number 64 written in Arabic numerals, presumably of later date, appears in the right margin, probably indicating that it was the fifty-fourth or fifty-fifth painting in the manuscript.

Rostam is seated in the lower right turning an onager on a spit over a small fire before him. Nonchalantly without flinching from the preparation of his meal, he kicks aside with his right foot, a large jagged boulder headed in his direction. The setting is a pink colored rocky hillside, with some blue sky at the top, and a small shrubs. Two other warriors are present. One, in the upper left with a finger to his lip in a sign of astonishment, might be identified as Bahman, son of Esfandiyår, who was responsible for dislodging the rock down the mountainside. The other warrior, in the left foreground, with his arms raised in alarm, might be identified as Zavāra, brother of Rostam, who had first seen the boulder and sounded the alarm.

There are four columns of text above and below the painting. Above the painting the two outside columns are each comprised of five lines of text, and the center columns of four lines each. Below the illustration the two outside columns are each comprised of seven lines of text, and the center columns of six lines each. A rectangular ruled frame encloses painting and text; there are no violations of the frame. The painting is signed by Mo¯in, in the lower margin: raqam-e kamina moʿin-e moṣavver. Not dated.

Painting references:
Sothebys London, 16 April 1984, Lot 106 (illustrated).
Golombek, Rotunda_1985, p.53.

Text references:

Warner, V, p.184-85. Mohl IV, p.473. Levy, p.199.

Provenance: A handwritten note in the bottom margin confirms that it was in the collection of Hasan Khan Monif, #795, in May 1953. It next appears at auction at Sothebys in 1984. Acquired by ROM in 2008.

Photo:© Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Robert Eng

Last Updated: April 28, 2013 | Originally published: June 23, 1997