Moʿin Moṣavver | Manuscripts | Shahnama of Ferdowsi

Manuscript F, no. 3-khosrow

Kay Ḵosrow Receiving an Embassy (?)

Location: Nasser D. Khalili Collection of Islamic Art, London. Previously in the Kraus Collection, New York.
34.5 x 22.3 cm.
13.2 cm. high x 14.8 cm. wide (after Grube)
Text area: 29.2 x 15.9 cm.(scaled)
Signature: in the lower margin, raqam-e kamina moʿin-e moṣavver. Not dated.

Grube has identified the subject of the painting as “Khosrow Receiving an Embassy”, but gives no text references to the Shahnama. The Ḵosrow depicted here is nearly identical to the depiction in 3-233, suggesting that they are both the same person, most likely Kay Ḵosrow. The accompanying text provides little help in identifying the event, nor does the iconography of the painting provide any readable clues that might help pinpoint the episode ilustrated.

The painting is higher in the center than on the two sides, bounded top and bottom by the text, and by the ruled frame on the sides. Altogether seven personage are represented. Shah Ḵosrow, who is mentioned in the accompanying text, is seated on an elevated hexagonal throne to the left. His arms are outstretched, gesturing toward two guests seated in the right foreground, who may be emissaries, and certainly are warriors, for they wear pointed steel helmets, with bows and swords hanging from their belts. Two decanters, some plates, and a cup are placed on the ground before them. Behind Ḵosrow, on the extreme left, is a turbanned attendant who stands at attention with the shah’s sword held ceremoniously to his shoulder. Two turbanned and bearded advisers to the shah can be seen seated in the left foreground, their lower extremities hidden behind the text. And on the far right a servant stands behind the two warriors, dressed in a long robe and fur trimmed hat, holding a large bottle pressed to his waist. The backdrop is a panel painted with floral images and flanked by tiled columns.

Painting references:
Grube, Kraus, no.166.

Photo after Grube

Text references:

Warner III, pp.__________ .

Robert Eng

Last Updated: June 16, 2015 | Originally published: June 16, 2015