Moʿin Moṣavver | Manuscripts | Shahnama of Ferdowsi

Manuscript E, no. 8-385

Ḵosrow Parviz Visits Širin in her Castle

Location: Aga Khan Museum, Toronto. Formerly in the Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan Collection, no. Ir.M 43/J
Welch gives the dimensions as 25.4 x 14.6; this would appear to be the text area..
not known.
18.1 x 14.6 cm (scaled)
Text area: 25.4 x 14.6 cm. (after Welch)
Text: four column; deepest column 7 lines (5 above, 2 below painting) on what appears to be a a 30 line per full page matrix.
Illustration number:
There is no illustration number in the margins. The image supplied to us by the Secretariat of Prince Sadruddin Aqa Khan is a cropped version of the page, and the page in turn also appears to have been trimmed, so it has not been possible to ascertain if the painting has, or ever had, an illustration number.

Ḵosrow Parviz had three wives: the first being Maryam, the daughter of the Caesar of Rum, who he married when he was in exile; the second wife was Bahrām Čubina's sister Gordiya, who Ḵosrow married in an attempt to soothe things over after Bahrām's assassination. Then one day while on a hunting expedition, Ḵosrow met anew an early love of his life, Širin. With sweet words Širin, a girl with baser motives, rekindled the flame that still lingered within Ḵosrow from his youth, and the shah decided to marry her. Although the princes and nobles all advised him to forsake Širin, for she had within her an evil seed, Ḵosrow persisted, and Širin became his third wife.

Širin's palace is shown on the right, a two story structure with overhanging balconies. A young couple, whose significance is not clear, is at the entrance to the castle; behind them is a multi-lobed arched panel decorated with light foliation, and in the center, a door. Above them, on the balcony is Širin and two of her ladies in waiting, who gaze down to observe the approach of Ḵosrow and his entourage below. The shah, astride a black horse, accompanied by four attendants, approach the castle from the left.

According to Welch, the four column text above the painting consists of five lines of text in the outer columns and for lines in the inner columns. Below the painting the outer columns each have two lines of text, and the center columns have one line each. A rectangular ruled frame encloses painting and text on the sides and bottom, but we cannot tell if anything protrudes into the top margin. The identifying inscription above the head of Širin is of later date. There is no evidence of a signature or date, although it may of once had one that was trimmed out.
Painting references:
Welch, AK2_1972, Ir.M. 43/J.

Text references:

Warner, VIII, p.385. Mohl, VII, pp.242-43. Levy, pp. 378-81.

Photo courtesy of Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan

Robert Eng

Last Updated: May 12, 2013 | Originally published: May 12, 2013