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

Manuscript L, folio 199

Shah Esmāʿil Receives Dignitaries at a Banquet in Herat

In the winter of 917/1510-11, following the victory of Marv and his conquest of Khorasan, Esmāʿil made his headquarters at Herat, and from all directions rulers and governors flocked there to congratulate him. The text speaks of the lavish clothing with which the shah honored the distinguished dignitaries, and that saqis with the stature of cypresses and faces of Venus distributed the wine. Although the text mentions Herat as the location, and the date can be fixed at 917 by the sequence of events, the names of the various dignitaries are not given. Thus, it is apparent that the painting is not a specific portrayal of particular dignitaries, such as the banquet for Sultan Oveys Mirzā mentioned by Eskandar Monshi, but rather a generalized representation of one or more of the banquets given by Esmāʿil that winter..

Esmāʿil is seated on a throne in the upper right, dressed in a white knee length coat with gold buttons. Behind him a saqi is holding a flacon. Seated in the lower right are what appear to be two emirs, who face the seven dignitaries on the left. All the dignitaries are wearing full length coats and the Safavid tāj. One of them is kneeling in homage before the shah; the others stand with their hands clasped. The lower left quadrant of the painting is missing, but a portion of a harp remains adjacent to the torn area, suggesting that there was once a musician, or group of musicians, complementing the ambience of the scene. And just beyond the harp is another saqi, kneeling on the ground with a flacon in one hand, and a shallow cup in the other, which he offers to one of the emirs. The ground is interspersed with plates of fruit and drink, and in the background are a large čenār and three pairs of cypress.

Painting: 16.8 x 12.2 cm. One line of text above and below the painting. Frame encloses painting and text; the painting has been severely damaged in that the lower left corner has been torn away with approximately 20% of the painted area missing. Additionally, dark smudging has obscured the features of Esmāʿil’s face almost entirely, as well as the area immediately surrounding it. No indications of retouching. Unsigned.

Painting references:

Text X-references:
See Savory, SA_1979, p.63 for this event in the History of Shah ʿĀbbās.

Robert Eng
Last updated: November 24, 2010


Photo: © The British Library, London