Moʿin Moṣavver | Manuscripts | tāriḵ-e ʿālām-ārā-ye šāh esmāʿil

Manuscript M, SE_75

Esmāʿil Kills Alvand Shah, the Brother of Sultan Morād Torkmān, in Battle

Date of this alleged event: 908/1503.
The event is rhe second battle between Esmāʿil and Alvand Shah Torkmān. In the first battle that took place between them several months earlier, at Šarur, near Naḵčevān, Alvand (who was actually the first cousin of Sultan Morād, not his brother - see Morton) was handily defeated. But Esmāʿil was unable to catch up with the fleeing Alvand, who reached safe haven at the court of ʿAlā al-Dowla Ẕuʾl-Qadar, where he acquired fresh troops with which to again confront Esmāʿil. Eskandar Monshi makes no mention of this second battle with Alvand; Roger Savory makes passing mention of Alvand mobilizing his forces in Anatolia. and Morton states that it is pure fiction, that the battle never took place. The present text claims that Avand was warned not to confront Esmāʿil and his 12,000 qezelbāš troops, but nevertheless proceeded and met the Sfavids on the battlefield near Baghdad. This time his defeat was final and Alvand was allegedly killed.

Shah Esmāʿil is shown in a white coat with gold trim just to the right of center. His shield is raised high to counterbalance the thrust of his sword which has come crashing down on Alvand Shah's head, and sliced him vertically from helmut tip to waist. Esmāʿil's qezelbāš troops are seen advancing from the lower right side of the picture firing arrows at their fleeting opponents. The Turkman warriors flee towards the left from the onslaught, attempting desparately to cover themselves with their shields. A few horn blowers, a standard bearer. and some observers complete the scene which takes place on barren terrain with a craggy mauve colored outcropping as the backdrop.

Location: Private Collection
Folio size
: 31.8 x 21.6 cm. wide
Painting: 18.5 x 13.0 cm not including incursions into margins (scaled from folio size)
Written surface: 22.5 x 13.0 cm (scaled from folio size)
Inscriptions: šāh esmāʿil in red on figure in white. alvand šāh in white on figure in purple.
Marginal inscription in red describes the event depicted.

Painting references:


Text references:
Muntaẓer-Ṣāḥeb_1970, p.75.
Savory, Safavids_1980, p.29.
Morton, Pembroke_1990, p.188.

Robert Eng
Last Updated: August 7, 2012 | Originally published: November 15, 2011