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

Manuscript N, jkjk_497

The Battle of Čālderān at which Shah Esmāʿil Defeats Malqoč-oǧlu the Ottoman

Location: Current whereabouts unknown
Mount: 36.0 x 23.4 cm; color of mount and collar not known.
Written surface: dimensions not known.
Painting: dimensions not known.
Text references: J.K., p.497 line 15 to p.498 line 1.
See Muntaẓer-Ṣāḥeb_1970, pp.521-22 for this event in the History of Shah Esmāʿil.
See Savory, SA_1979, p.69 for this event in the History of Shah ʿĀbbās.

Cf. ms. L f.249, and ms. M f.298v, for two other variants by Moʿin of the event.

Date of this event: 2 Rajab 920/23 August 1514.
The only battle with the Ottomans in which Shah Esmāʿil took part was fought at Čālderān in Diār Baḵr. A renowned Ottoman, identified in this text as Ankoǧli, but apparently the same as the Malqoč-oǧlu cited by Monshi, was constantly boasting to his compatriots that there was no one in the Safavid ranks worthy of giving battle to him except the shah himself. During the battle he managed to reach the Safavid center and challenge the shah. Esmāʿil galloped out to meet him, and delivered a single blow of his sword with such fury and hostility that it cleft his opponent in half, dividing shield. helmet, head, and continuing through his neck and chest to the waist.

The painting depicts the two combatants near the center of the composition. True to the text, Esmāʿil lunges forward in the saddle and cleaves his opponent down the middle. The individual in the upper left, wearing Ottoman headgear, can be identified as the Ottoman emperor, Sultan Selim. There are seven other individuals in the scene: four qezelbāš and three Ottomans. The Ottomans are all portrayed as if they were Turkman; three of the Safavids wear spotted capes, apparently sybols of higher rank, possibly governors.

Painting references:

Sotheby's London, 22 May 1986, Lot 152 (in color)
Sims, Safavid_2002, p.56

Provenence: Formerly in the Baltimore Museum of Art, 1947.115.

Photo after Sothebys catalog.

Robert Eng
Last Updated: August 9, 2011 | Originally published:
August 9, 2011