Moʿin Moṣavver | Manuscripts | Shahnama of Ferdowsi

Manuscript F, no. 5-163

Goštāsp Receives Esfandiyār

Location: Collection of Maryam Javaheri, New York. Previously in the Kraus Collection, New York.
34.5 x 22.0 cm.
11.0 x 15.0 cm.
Text area: 26.0 x 15.0 cm.
Text: four column; 7 lines above the painting including the space for the chapter title that remains blank, and 8 lines below on a 27 line per full page matrix.
not signed.

After Esfandiyār successfully underwent the seven feats, killed Arjasp, and rescued his sisters from the Brazen Hold, he sought to return to Iran. He penned a letter filled with praise to his father Shah Goštāsp, and in turn received a response welcoming him back. When Esfandiyār arrived at his father's palace, Goštāsp rushed out with open arms to embrace him. The painting depicts the narrative precisely at this point in time. The illustration is a horizontal rectangle in shape with no incursions beyond the frame into the margins; the composition is straightforward. Shāh Goštāsp and his son Esfandiyār are shown in large scale near the center of the painting, embracing, having met after a long separation. Both are portrayed on horseback. The shah, bearded and wearing a purple robe and gold crown, is astride a brown horse on the left. His son, opposite him on the right, wears a vermillion coat and gold crown, and is seated on a white horse. Three other personage, all mounted, are portrayed in the scene: it is possible that these are intended to be three sons of Esfandiyār, who accompanied him on his return to Iran. The backdrop is a simplified hillside rendered in light mauve-pink, and beyond it is a variegated blue sky.

A rectangular ruled frame encloses illustration and text, with no protrusions into the margins. The painting has been severly damaged in several places: the features of the faces of Goštāsp and the youth on the far left have been crudely redrawn with heavy black paint; the face of the youth on the far right has been smudged. The painting is not signed, but the faces of two of the youths and Esfandiyār are of excellent quality suggestive of Moʿin’s hand.

Painting references:

Text references:

Warner, V, p.161-65. Mohl, IV, p.448..

Photo by author

Robert Eng

Last Updated: July 5, 2015 | Originally published: July 5, 2015.