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

Manuscript M, SE_187

Esmāʿil Kills Malek Fayyāż, Son of Sultan Moḥsen, in Battle

The date is 914/October 1508. The place is Ḥaviza in the vacinity of Baghdad. According to the account of this event as related by Eskandar Monshi, citing the Ḥabib al-Siar as his source, relates that while his emirs and a contingent of troops were pursuing Malek Shah Rostam (see SE-179) Esmāʿil moved with the main body of troops in the direction of Iraq. Sultan Fayyāż was the son of Sultan Moḥsen, the ruler of the Mošaʿšaʿ Tribe of Arabs, and successor of his father. This tribe professed the divinity of ʿAli, and among other aberrations even professed a belief in the divinity of Sultan Fayyāż himself. When the Esmāʿil's troops reached the vacinity of Ḥaviza, Sultan Fayyād drew up the Mošaʿšaʿ forces in battle; a battle was fought and Fayyāż and many of his companions were killed. Muntaẓer-Ṣāḥeb records much of the same information, but in addition describes the battle: Malek Fayyāż charged Esmāʿil and thrust his sword. The thrust was deflected by Esmāʿil whose own sword came down on the head of Fayyāż and split him open. Esmāʿil then ordered that Sultan Moḥsen be informed of the death of his son. With this the tribe was subjugated and one of the Safavid emirs was appointed governor.

The combatants of the battle can be sub-divided into two camps on opposite sides of an imaginary vertical line running down the center of the composition: on the left side the Mošaʿšaʿ Arabs, three in number including Sultan Fayyāż, all wearing turbans; on the right side are the Safavids all identified by their red flat top caps with kolahs. These include three ǧazis plus Esmāʿil, and the heads of three additional Safavids behind the ridge in upper right. True to the words of the text, Esmāʿil can be seen crashing his sword down on the head of Fayyāż and splitting him open. The setting is a typical mauve colored non-descript hillside with a craggy rock outcropping at the top, and a gold sky beyond.

Location: Private Collection
Folio size
: 31.8 x 21.6 cm.
Painting: ink, opaque watercolor and gold on paper. 15.0 x 13.0 cm wide (scaled from folio size)
Written surface: 22.3 x 13.0 cm wide (scaled from folio size)
Inscriptions: In red on figure in yellow: Sultan Fayyāż.. In red on figure in purple: Shah Esmāʿil. Marginal inscription in red describs the event depicted.

Cf. Ms. N, JK-296 for another version of this subject painted by Moʿin.

Photo courtesy of Christie's. ©Christie's Images Ltd. 2012

Painting references:
Christies London, 17 April 2007, Lot 230.
Text references:
Muntaẓer-Ṣāḥeb_1970, p.187.
See Savory, SA_1979, p.57 for this event in the History of Shah ʿĀbbās.

Robert Eng
Last Updated: December 1, 2011 | Originally published:
December 1, 2011