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

Manuscript N, jkjk_207

Shah Esmāʿil Foils an Ambush Enroute to the Siege of the Fortress of Ostā

Location: Worcester Art Museum, Worcester MA, Acc.#R1962.179
Mount: Ble mount with gold decoration 35.4 x 23.0 cm. Buff collar.
Written surface: 23.6 x 15.2 cm.
Painting: 18.1 x 15.2 cm.
Text references: J.K., p.207 lines 1 to 6.
See Savory, SA_1979, p. 48 for this event in the History of Shah ʿĀbbās

Date of this event: 909/April-May 1504.
Following his victory at the Fort of Gol-e Ḵandān
(see jk_197) Esmāʿil continued his march toward Rostamdār, taking next the Fortress at Firuzkuh (see ms.L folio 100v) and heading next toward Ostā. Emir Ḥoseyn Kiā Čolāvi himself escaped from Gol-e Ḵandān before it fell, and with a band of 12,000 troops positioned himself on Esmāʿil's path to Ostā hoping to ambush him unaware. This text states that Esmāʿil got wind of the planned ambush, attacked, and caused Emir Čolāvi's forces to fle in the direction of Ostā where they holed themselves up inside the castle.

The illustration is a rather accomplished depiction of a battle, with a melange of participants. The intensity of the battlefield is heightened by Moʿin's characteristic device of cropping to fit more men and horses into the scene. Yet there is no boredom, no loss of interest; each participant is doing something different, no two horses are alike.
The setting is simple: a mauve colored sloping hillside with rock outcroppings at the top, and a gold sky beyond. The painting is not signed or dated. An inscription in red near the top center identifies the event.

Painting references:
Sims, Safavid_2002, fig.10.2

Provenence: Formerly in the Alexander H. Bullock Collection

Photo courtesy of the Worcester Art Museum, Worcester, Massachusetts, Bequest of Alexander H. Bullock.

Robert Eng
Last Updated: June 27, 2012 | Originally published:
June 27, 2012