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

Manuscript N, jkjk_217

Safavids Capture Moḥammad Karrā at the End of the Siege of Yazd

Location: current whereabouts unknown
Mount: Orange mount heightened with gold 36.0 x 23.5 cm. Blue collar.
Written surface: 23.6 (scaled) x 15.4 cm.
Painting: 15.0 x 15.4 cm.
Text references: J.K., p.217 line 8 to p.218 line 1.
See Savory, SA_1979, p. 48 for this event in the History of Shah ʿĀbbās.

Date of this event: 909/ summer-autumn 1504
Moḥammad Karra, the dāruga of Abarkuh under the Āq Qoyunlu, was subsequently appointed governor by Esmāʿil. While the shah was preoccupied with the campaign in Rostamdār (see jk_207), he received word
that Moḥammad Karra had descended upon Yazd, seized the city, and put the Safavid governor to death. After the battle of Ostā, Esmāʿil turned his attention to Yazd and laid seige to the city for two months. Overwhelmed, Moḥammad Karra was unable to hold the city, and retreated into one of the towers of the citadel. The Safavid troops stormed the castle, captured Moḥammad Karra, and transported him to Isfahan where he was executed in the meydān.

The painting shows the crenelated walls and two or three levels of the fortress of Yazd. A fire is blazing before the entrance way while Safavid troops scale the walls on ladders. Some have already achieved the second level where they are restrainding two bare-headed prisoners, while on the top level defenders are firing arrows from behind the crenelations at the Safavids below.
Shah Esmāʿil, in a white uniform, is seated on horseback in the lower left surrounded by his commanders. An insciption in red on his shoulder identifies him; another inscription in red at the top of the door identifies the event. Three lines of text above and three lines below the painting. Unsigned; not dated.

Painting references:
Sothebys London, 22 May 1986, Lot 154 (ill. in color).
Christies London, 13 April 2010, Lot 185 (ill. in color).

Provenence: Formerly in the Baltimore Museum of Art.

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

Robert Eng
Last Updated: August 18, 2011 | Originally published:
August 1, 2011