Moʿin Moṣavver | Manuscripts | Ḵamsa of Neẓāmi

Manuscript K2, no. 4-30

Eskandar Over the Body of Darā

Ḵamsa, Poem 4, Eskandarnāma (Šarafnāma), Canto 30
Location: Nasser D. Khalili Collection of Islamic Art,
London, MSS.1220.3
33.9 x 20.7 cm (after Sotheby's)
Text area: 25 x 14 cm (scaled)
irreguar shape approximately 18.4 cm. high x 19 (scaled).
Text: four column; 18 lines on a 25 line per full page matrix.
Signature: Not signed

Despite being adversaries, Eskandar felt a certain kinship with Darā; he respected him as the king of a great empire and a noble warrior. When Darā was brutally assinated by two of his own soldiers Eskandar was appalled that the life of this great leader could be taken in such a cowardly fashion. He rushed to the location where Darā's body lay to mourn the death of his valiant adversary and pay his final respects. Eskandar admonished the two murderers and punished them severly. Subsequently, out of respect for Darā, and perhaps as atonement, Eskandar married Darā's daughter Rošanak (Roxanna).

Insufficient room had been left in the text for the illustration, which would have looked completely squashed by the heavy text block above it. To alleviate this problem the painting has cleverly been extended into the left margin, with an upward thrust that counterbalances the weight of the text pressing downward.

For other represetations by Moʿin of Eskandar Over the Body of Darā or Mourning at the Body of Darā, see MSS B 6-052 and MSS G f292

Painting references:
Sotheby's (London) Sale, 3 May 2001, Lot 47, Iskandarnama no. 5
Sotheby's (London) Sale, 10 October 2006, Lot 34, Iskandarnama no. 5
Sotheby's (London) Sale, 22 April 2015, Lot 113 (ill.)

Text references: (Eskandar-nama, p.331ff, Canto XXX)

Photo courtesy of Sothebys, with publication permission of the © Nour Foundation and the Khalili Family Trust

Robert Eng

Last Updated: November 17, 2016 | Originally published: November 17, 2016