Moʿin Moṣavver | Manuscripts | Shahnama of Ferdowsi

Manuscript F, no. 6-354

Šāpur Receives a Letter from Bārānuš, the Caesar of Rum

Location: Khalili Collection, London.. Formerly in the Kraus Collection, New York.
34.5 x 22.3 cm. (after Grube)
Text area:
25.7 x 15.0 cm. (scaled)
Not signed

Bārānuš (Jovian) was placed on the throne of Rome by the army after the disasterous defeat of Julian at the hands of the Persians. But Jovian knew that further battles with the Sasanian king would be harmful to his empire. Accordingly, he penned a letter to Šāpur proposing a peace settlement, and dispatched it with a trusted messenger to deliver to him. The distinguished figure on the far right, sporting a neatly groomed beard, long brocaded robe, and tall Ottoman headdress, is that trusted messenger. He can be identified as the brother of Bārānuš, the caesar of Rum.

Šāpur is seated on an octagonal shaped, elevated throne before him reading a letter that he just delivered, just to the left of the center of the composition, framed by an arched panel delicately painted with foliage that accentuates his dominance. Behind him, on the far left, are two servants dressed in long robes, one of which holds a flacon against his body.

Facing the shåh, on the right side of the painting, in addition to the envoy, are ttwo personage. A young prince (?) of unknown identity kneels immediately before him, wearing a turban and a sword on his belt. On the far right is another attendant who envelops a flacon in his arms. The setting is the interior of a palace; the wall that serves as a backdrop is symmetrically disposed with two columns and a lintel, that frame a multilobed arched niche, that is surmounted over a panel painted with foliate decoration.

For an earlier version of this episode also painted by Moʿin see ms.D, f.109v

Painting references:
Grube, Kraus, no.172 (illustrated).

Text references:

Warner, VI, p.353-54.

Photo after Grube

Robert Eng

Last Updated: August 12, 2015 | Originally published: August 12, 2015