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

Manuscript N, jkjk_112

Esmāʿil Leading His Followers Aross the ʿĀrās River

Location: Present Whereabouts Unknown.
Mount: Salmon color mount with gold 35.8 x 23.3 cm. Gray-green collar. Mount and collar may have faded from bright orange and dark blue.
Written surface:: 25.3 x _15.9 cm.
Painting: (estimated) 15.6 x 15.9 cm.
Text references: J.K., p.112 lines 1 to 7.
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

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 an adolescent Esmāʿil at the head of his troops, represented by a group that includes eight men, all on horseback, in the midst of the river. 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 a band of cloudy sky. Three lines of text above and below the painting. Frame encloses painting and text. šāh esmāʿil inscribed on lower coat of Esmāʿil. Painting not signed or dated.

See Ms.L, f.55v for an earlier painting by Moʿin of the same subject.

Painting references:
Sotheby’s London, 1 April 2009, Lot 32.

Photo courtesy of Sotheby's.

Robert Eng
Last Updated: June 25,2012 | Originally published:
June 25, 2012