Moʿin Moṣavver | Manuscripts | Shahnama of Ferdowsi

Manuscript F, no. 8-205

Ḵosrow Parviz and Bahrām Čubina Meet

Location: Current whereabouts unknown.
Formerly in the Ettinghausen Collection, Princeton who acquired it from the Kraus Collection, New York.
34.3 x 22.5 cm. (after Sothebys)
12.3 x 16.0 cm. (not including extensions into top margin or narrow spaces between the text columns
Text area: 27.0 x 16.0 cm. (after Sothebys)
Signature: not signed.

When Shah Hormozd was blinded and deposed, it left Ḵosrow Parviz, the son of Hormozd, and Bahrām Čubina, the usurper, as rivals for the throne. The first meeting between the two protagonists took place shortly thereafter, and is the subject of this painting. At first, Ḵosrow, considering himself the heir apparent, thought he could offer Bahrām a position of high esteem in turn for throwing his support behind Ḵosrow as shah. But Ḵosrow was soon to find out otherwise. The meeting turned into a confrontation with each disparaging the other in no uncertain terms. Finally both sides withdrew without any immediate conflict. But this meeting was only a harbinger of things to come -- a series of seemingly never ending shouting matches and battles between the two protagonists.

In seventeenth century Persian painting this scene is render compositionally in one of two manners: in a tent setting with the two protagonists seated facing each other, or as here, in an outdoor setting similar to this rendition. A comparison with Ms.266,f.474 in the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, which is dated 1627, reveals a remarkable similarity in composition, that might have even served as a model or starting point for Moʿin's composition.

For other paintings by Moʿin of confrontations/battles from this same episode between Ḵosrow Parviz and Bahrām Čubina, see ms.D,f.186v, ms.D, f.189, ms.G, f.422

Painting references:
Sothebys London, 6 Oct 2010, Lot 69.
Sothebys London, 25 April 2012, Lot 480.

Text references:

Warner, VIII, p.205ff.

Photo courtesy of Sothebys.

Robert Eng

Last Updated: December 21, 2015| Originally published: December 21, 2015