Moʿin Moṣavver | Manuscripts | Shahnama of Ferdowsi

Manuscript F, no. 2-014

Rostam’s First Encounter with Afrāsiyāb

Location: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. #1975.192.24.
Previously in the Kraus Collection, New York.
35.0 x 21.5 cm.
12.75 x 16.25 cm.(not including marginal extensions)
Text area: 27.4 x 16.25 cm. (scaled)
Text: four column; 13 lines above the painting and one line below on a 27 line per full page matrix.
Signature: An inscription in miniscule characters, in the center of the lower margin, follows Moʿin’s traditional formula of humility: raqam zad kamina moʿin-e moṣavver and the year 1077/1666-67.

The page suffers badly from abrasion and flaking which has resulted in, among other things, destruction of some of the facial features. A chapter title is captivated in the text above the painting, and a rectangular ruled frame encloses painting and text, except for two standards and the trumpeters on the right side, and two horns on the left side, that violate the frame and protrude into the margins.

The painting portrays the preliminaries of the first encounter of Rostam and Afrāsiyāb prior to the commencement of hostilities when Rostam attempted to grab Afrāsiyāb by the belt and carry him back to Iranian lines. Rostam, in his familiar tiger skin coat and leopard skin headdress, sits on a light tan horse on the right side of the composition, accompanied by two warriors wearing steel helmets in the lower right foreground. Two other warriors, similarly attired, peer down from over the ridge line in the extreme upper right. Afrāsiyāb is mounted on a brown horse on the left side of the painting, accompanied by three mounted warriors in the lower left foreground. The setting is a non-descript pink hillside that rises to a peak at the top center of the composition. Two turbanned trumpeters herald the event with long horns in the left background, while two others extend into the right margin from behind the text.

Painting references:
- search collections for #1975.192.24.

Text references:

Warner, II, pp.13-15. Mohl, I, pp.367-70.

Photo: © The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Gift of Richard Ettinghausen, 1975.

Robert Eng

Last Updated: June 11, 2015 | Originally published: June 11, 2015