Moʿin Moṣavver | Manuscripts | Shahnama of Ferdowsi

Manuscript F, no. 5-240

The Second Battle of Rostam and Esfandiyār

Location: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.. #1975.192.26.
Previously in the Kraus Collection, New York.
35.0 x 22.0 cm.
11.25 x 15.0 cm.(not including marginal extensions)
Text area: 26.0 x 15.0 cm.

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.

According to the title on the page the event is the second battle between Rostam and Esfandiyår, and the painting depicts Rostam slaying the younger hero with a sword blow to the head. The artist, however, would seem to have erred in his depiction, for in that confrontation Rostam killed Esfandiyår with a double pointed arrow, and not with a sword as here illustrated. The final demise of Esfandiyår, correctly portrayed, appears in another miniature from this same manuscript (5-243), which must have been located only a few folios later in the manuscript. Thus, one is lead to conclude that the artist should have been here portraying the preliminaries of the confrontation, such as the two combatants attempting to unhorse each other (cf. ms. D, f.44), and not the final outcome of the battle.

See Manuscript D, folios 44 and 48 for earlier representations from the same episode by Mo¯in..

Painting references:

Text references:

Warner, V, pp.240-43; Mohl, IV, pp.540-45.

Robert Eng

Last Updated: July 6, 2015 | Originally published: July 6, 2015