Moʿin Moṣavver | Manuscripts | Shahnama of Ferdowsi
Manuscript E, no. 8-126
Bahrām Čubina Defeats and Kills Sāva
Location: Aga Khan Museum, Toronto. Formerly in the Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan Collection, no. Ir.M 43/C
Dimensions: Welch gives the dimensions as 30 x 15 cm. without further elaboration.
Page: not known
Painting: 18.8 x 15.0 cm. (scaled)
Text area: 26.1 x 15.0 cm. (scaled)
Text: four column; deepest column 10 lines on a 30 line per full page matrix.
Illustration number: The number 91 written in Arabic numerals, presumably of later date, appears in the lower right margin, probably indicating that it was the ninety-first painting in the manuscript
The two protagonists are portrayed in the foreground. Bahrām Čubina, charging from the right on a brown mount, has just released an arrow. The arrow has found its mark and is visible protruding from the chest of Shah Sāva, who reels backward in the saddle, his arms hanging limply at his side, shield and sword in hand. Three soldiers are portrayed in the foreground, their lower extremities cropped by the frame. One, dressed in blue in the lower left corner, is a Turkman archer taking aim at an advancing Iranian in the opposite corner, who moves toward the left, a sword in one hand, a shield in the other. Between the two is a third soldier, clad in vermilion, who may be a retreating Turkman. In the far background are six more warriors who peer over the ridge at the combat below. They are dressed identically; only their garment colors vary - vermilion, yellow, purple. The setting is a barren, off-white hillside that rises to the left. The ground is not modulated, and interrupted only at even intervals by peculiar groupings of three mauve colored stones and squiggly lines that represent vegetation. Two-thirds of the way up the page is a ridge, and beyond it a craggy hill rendered in mauve with orange edging. In the far background is a variegated blue sky.
There are four columns of text above and below the painting. A rectangular frame encloses illustration and text. An inscription, probably not contemporary with the painting, identifies Sāva. The painting is signed, in the lower margin, in minuscule characters that seem to be in Moʿin’s hand: raqam-e kamina moʿin-e moṣavver. Despite Mo¯in’s signature, seven of the faces - the six warriors in the background, and the figure in the right foreground - are less accomplished, perhaps suggesting the collaboration of an assistant. Not dated.
Welch, AK2_1972, Ir.M.43/B (not ill.),
Warner, VIII, pp.126-27; Mohl, VI, pp.491-98.
Photo courtesy of Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan
Last Updated: April 28, 2013 | Originally published: June 23,1997