Moʿin Moṣavver | Manuscripts | History of Shah Esmāʿil |tāriḵ-e jahāngushā'i-ye ḵāqān-e ṣāḥibibqirān

Manuscript L, folio 55v

Esmāʿil Leading His Followers Aross the ʿĀrās River

Date of this event: 906/1500
Esmāʿil decided to invade Širvān and departed from Arzanjān with a force of 8000 men, to engage Forroḵyasār, the ruler of Širvān. The setting for this scene is in Azerbaijan, enroute to Širvān, just north of Lake Reżāiya at the confluence of the Kor and Ārās Rivers. The text provides the following information. In an attempt to take over the main passage of ʿAsā Kar Ẓafar Māṣar (a name of uncertain identity), Esmāʿil sent Pirām Beg (written Perām Beik) to the river to find a point of passage. As much as Pirām Beg searched, no way seemed suitable, and was contemplating dividing the ǧāzis into two parts and bringing them across on rafts. Esmāʿil decided against this plan and without hesitation plunged his horse into the deep water. The army, seeing this, quickly followed his lead; all reached the opposite shore without a man being lost.

The painting portrays Esmāʿil more mature than his depictions on folios 43v and 74v, at the head of his troops in the midst of the river. They are all on horseback, apparently having just entered the river from the bank on the right, for Esmāʿil is immersed up to his boots in water, but his seven followers are in shallower positions. The group includes men of varying ages from mature emirs to youthful lower ranking standard bearers. The setting is relatively simple in its organization: the lower two-thirds of the painting is comprised of water in which the entourage is immersed; the top third is composed of a band of light colored river bank sloping slightly downward to the right, and beyond it a band of sky. A single tree grows in the upper left and bows to the right with bursts of foliage.

Painting: 14.7 x 12.2 cm. Two lines of text above and below the painting. Frame encloses painting and text. The face of the figure furthest to the right and the adjacent frame has been smudged; to a lesser degree the same is true of the personage to Esmāʿil’s left. Although the painting has suffered from wear, no other significant damage can be noted. The painting is signed in the lower margin in Moʿin’s hand: raqam zad kamina moʿin-e moṣavver. Not dated.

Painting references:
Stchoukine, SA_1964, p.65 and pl.LXVII

Text X-references:
See Muntaẓer-Ṣāḥeb_1970, p.53 for this event in the History of Shah Esmāʿil.
See Savory, SA_1979, p.43 for this event in the History of Shah ʿĀbbās.

Robert Eng
Last updated: November 16, 2010

Photo: © The British Library, London