Moʿin Moṣavver | Manuscripts | Shahnama of Ferdowsi

Manuscript F, no. 6-239

Ardašir's Army Reporting to Him Their Defeat by Haftvād's Army

Location: Current whereabouts unknown. Formerly in the Richard Ettinghausen Collection, Princeton;
and previous to that the Kraus Collection, New York.
34.3 x 22.0 cm. (after Sothebys)
14.4 x 15.0 cm. (after Grube)
Text area: 25.7 x 15.0 cm. (scaled)
Signature: Not signed.

The subject is unusual, perhaps unique, in Shahnama illustrations. In the miniature, Ardāšir astride a black horse, approaches from the right, accompanied by two mounted warriors wearing pointed steel helmets. Standing before him, on the left side of the painting, are three of his warriors, who raise their arms in supplication, apologizing for their defeat in battle against Haftvåd’s army. Three bloody corpses of defeated combatants lie on the ground in the middle foreground. The setting is a barren sloping hillside; near the top the hill forms a rocky crest with sparse vegetation. Two turbanned trumpeters blow their horns beyond the crest in the upper left, and behind them, in the far distance, is the sky.

There are four columns of text above and below the miniature. A rectangular ruled frame encloses miniature and text with only a single horn violating the frame and protruding into the left margin.

Painting references:
Grube, Kraus, no.165 (illustrated)
Sotheby's (London), 24 April 2013, Lot 56 (illustrated)

Text references:

Probably Warner, VI, p.239.

Photo courtesy of Sothebys.

Robert Eng

Last Updated: July 15, 2015 | Originally published: July 15, 2015