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

Manuscript L, folio 110v

Shah Esmāʿil Receiving an Emissary from Sultan Ḥoseyn Mirzā of Herat

While Esmāʿil was preoccupied in Rostamdār (cf. f.100v), the governor of Abarquh, Moḥammad Karra, made a descent upon Yazd, seized the city, and killed the governor. In 910/1504-5 Esmāʿil laid siege to the city capturing and executing Moḥammad Karra. These were the events that brought the shah to Yazd. While Esmāʿil was there, Sultan Ḥoseyn Mirzā, the aging Timurid ruler of Herat, sent his ṣadr, Emir Kamāl al-Din, to congratulate the shah on his victories. Although many Aq Qoyunlu Turkmen had taken refuge in Rostamdār following the defeat of Sultan Morād, others fled into Khorasan where they instigated the Čaǧatāy army into committing atrocities against the population. For these acts Sultan Ḥoseyn apologized, explaining that he was too old to control Khorasan as he once had. Although Esmāʿil respected Sultan Ḥoseyn like a father, he made a sudden retaliatory strike against Ṭabas, reportedly killing 7000 Čaǧatāys.

The Painting depicts the arrival of Emir Kamāl al-Din at the court of Esmāʿil in Yazd, bringing with him the message from Sultan Ḥoseyn and many gifts. Shah Esmāʿil, wearing a full length white robe with gold decoration, and a qezelbāš tāj, is seated in the upper right, on a carpet in the shape of a throne, that is ambiguously shown in plan and elevation simultaneously. Just behind him is a retainer, and in the right foreground three qezelbāš emirs and a second retainer. All eyes focus on a group at the left, consisting of seven individuals. A harp and tambourine identify some as musicians. More towards the center of the painting is Emir Kamāl al-Din, presenting them to the shah. He is dressed in a coat with fur collar, and a turban decorated with feathers and a baton. The foreground has rich green ground cover sprinkled with flowers; in the background are two pairs of slender cypress interspersed with orange trees, which suffice to localize the setting to Yazd. On the left is an ivān surmounted by a pavilion.

Painting: 16 x 11.7 cm. One line of text above and below the painting. Frame encloses painting and text. There are two tears in the lower right, and minor abrasion and flaking throughout, but no major damage. Some of the faces, notably the three musicians and the two attendants on the right side, are more summarily treated than the other faces, and may reflect the hand of an assistant. Unsigned.

Painting references:

Text X-references:
See Muntaẓer-Ṣāḥeb_1970, p.141 for this event in the History of Shah Esmāʿil
See Savory, SA_1979, p.49 for this event in the History of Shah ʿĀbbās.

Robert Eng
Last updated: November 22, 2010

Photo: © The British Library, London