Moʿin Moṣavver | Manuscripts | Shahnama of Ferdowsi

Manuscript G, folio 214

Kay Ḵosrow Throws Šida to the Ground and Kills Him

The composition shares many similarities with folio 193v. The two combatants, Shah Kay Ḵosrow and Šida, son of the Turānian king Afrāsiyāb, struggle in hand combat in the center foreground. Šida lies limply, Kay Ḵosrow over him, having just thrust his dagger deep into the Turānian’s chest. Both are dressed nearly identical: pointed helmets with feathers, leg guards, boots, and knee length coats bound with a belt from which sword, bow case, and quivers are suspended. Only the feathers and colors of the clothing vary, as well as the position of the shields: Ḵosrow’s is strapped to his back, Šida’s has fallen to the ground. One curious note is that the facial features of the two combatants strongly resemble Bižan and Humān as depicted on f. 193v, and are not at all in agreement with the Kay Ḵosrow on f. 230. The forequarters of two horses and their grooms are juxtaposed in the foreground, Ḵosrow’s on the left, and Šida’s on the right. Both grooms have a forefinger to the lips in astonishment. In the center foreground two warriors, one Turānian and the other Iranian, witness the event. Two other warriors, stand behind the combatants on each side: the Iranian holds a shield and standard; the poorly proportioned Turānian holds a sword and shield. Behind the second ridge five more heads observe the event. The setting is the typical sloping hillside, with widely dispersed tufts of grass, that rises to a rocky ridge near the top. A čenār and bush grow at the crest. A second hill is beyond, and in the distance a striated sky of the Fażl ʿAli type.

Painting: 25.4 x 16.5 cm. The text is written in four columns above and below the painting, with a rectangular frame enclosing painting and text. The miniscule signature, raqam-e kamina fażl ʿali, is inscribed on the sky in the upper left, in addition to the signature of Moʿin, raqam zad kamina moʿin-e moṣavver, written in the lower margin. Attributed by Jackson and Yohannan to Fażl ʿAli, and by Robinson to Moʿin with the assistance of Fażl ʿAli. The painting is in excellent Moʿin style; only selected details - the sky and the five observers in the extreme background - may be the contributions of Fażl ʿAli:.

For another version painted by Moʿin, see Ms. C, f. 214v.

Painting references:
J&Y_1914, p.37 no.31 (not ill.).
Robinson, Cochran4_1972, p.79,no.31 (not ill.).
Cambridge Shahnameh Project
Text references: Warner, IV, pp.175-76; Mohl, IV, p.48.

Robert Eng
Last Updated: February 15, 2011 | Originally published: June 18, 2003

Photo: © The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York