Moʿin Moṣavver | Manuscripts | Shahnama of Ferdowsi

Manuscript G, folio 106

Garsivaz Slanders Siyāvoš before Afrasiyāb

Garsivaz, the brother of Afrasiyāb, is seated before the Turānian monarch, wearing pointed steel helmet, arm and leg guards, with bow and quiver hanging from his belt. He is accompanied by two companions similarly attired. Afrasiyāb is seated in the upper right on an irregular shaped, slightly elevated, throne, which is positioned before a multilobe arched doorway decorated with birds, flowers, and foliage. A sword hangs from his belt, and on his head is a jeweled crown. Two attendants, one holding a sword ceremonially against his chest, the other holding a flacon, stand behind the throne. Three musicians are seated in the left foreground, and a ṣaqi serving drink is in the center foreground. Six observers also witness the scene: four advisors to Afrasiyāb are seated in the lower right; two others with walking sticks are standing in the lower left. The foreground is covered with a delicate floral pattern suggestive of a carpet, with dishes of fruit and decanters. Behind Garsivaz and his party is a tiled wall surmounted by a fence with a garden containing a deciduous tree and two cypresses. Left of the wall is a brick gateway (?) enclosing a multilobed arch and a wooden window frame, all of which is of uncertain spatial dimension.

Painting: 26 x 16.5 cm..Three lines of four column text above the painting, and two lines below. A rectangular frame encloses painting and text. The miniscule signature raqam-e kamina Fażl ʿAli appears in the upper left next to the cypresses, and a second time even lighter, raqam-e Fażl ʿAli above the head of Afrasiyāb. The painting is attributed by Jackson and Yohannan to Fażl ʿAli, and by Robinson to Moʿin with the assistance of Fażl ʿAli. The general style is that of Moʿin Moṣavver but not all of the faces have been painted with an equal level of execution. The faces of the companion of Garsivaz and the two men in the lower right are, for example, vastly superior to most of the others in the painting. This, plus the signatures of Fażl ʿAli, lends support to Robinson's contention that Moʿin had assistance.

For another Siyavosh episode painted by Moʿin, see Ms.C, f.112.

Painting references:
J&Y_1914, p.36 no.19 (not ill.).
Robinson, Cochran4_1972, p.78, no.19 (not ill.).
Cambridge Shahnameh Project
Text references:

Warner II, pp.296ff; Mohl, II, p.294ff; Levy, p.98.

Robert Eng
Last Updated: January 27, 2011 | Originally published: June 18, 2003

Photo: © The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York