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

Manuscript N, jkjk_117

Esmāʿil in Battle with the King of Širvān Cleaves a Fleeing Foeman

Location: Present Whereabouts Unknown.
Mount: black with gold 35.8 x 23.5 cm.; buff collar.
Written surface: 23.3 x 15.2 cm.
Painting: 15.2 x 15.2 cm.
Text references: J.K., p.117 lines 8 to 15.
See Savory, SA_1979, p.43 for this event in the History of Shah ʿĀbbās

The date of this event: Winter 906/1500-01
In the year 1500 Esmāʿil decided to invade Širvān and departed from Arzanjān with a force of 8000 men, to engage Forroḵyasār, the ruler of Širvān. A pitched battle took place in the region of the Golestān fortress in the winter of 906/1500-1501, in which Forroḵyasār died together with many members of his nobility, cavalry and infantry. Shaikh Shah, the elder son of the Širvānšāh, fled across the Caspian to Gilān. Accordingly most of the inhabitants of Širvān submitted to Esmāʿil, and all of the treasure of the Širvānšāh fell into his hands.

The painting portrays a lively battle pitched against a white rocky backdrop. The young Esmāʿil is near the center of the composition, having just brought his sword to bear on the neck of a fleeting enemy. Others are busy firing arrows, thrusting lances or defending themselves with shields. The flow of the battle is from right to left; the Safavids, seven in number, can all be identified by their distinctive flat top tāj. By contrast the fleeing Āq Qoyunlu cavalry all wear pointed steel helmuts.

Three lines of text above the painting, and three lines below. Ruled frame and collar enclose painting and text. Inscription šāh esmāʿil on lower coat of
Esmāʿil. The painting is not signed or dated.

Painting references:
Sotheby’s London, 20 November 1986, Lot 200.
Christies London, 17 April 2007, Lot 247

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

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