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

Manuscript N, jkjk_613

After the Death of Esmāʿil, the Young Ṭahmāsp is Placed to the Throne

Location: Present Whereabouts Unknown.
Mount: Blue-gray mount with gold 35.7 x 23.4 cm. Buff collar.
Written surface:: 24.4 x 16.0 cm.
Painting: (estimated) 15.6 x 15.9 cm.
Text references: J.K., p. 613 (no text reference)

Date of this event: 930/1524
The event portrayed here is the young Ṭahmās̄p ascending the throne; not the young Esmāʿil on the throne as has been previously cited in the literature. The name of Shah Ṭahmāsp appears clearly in red the second line from the bottom below the painting. Esmāʿil's eldest son Ṭahmāsp was born 26 ẔuʾḤejja 919/22 February 1514 (Savory, Safavids_1980, p.51) cf. ms.N, JK_438. Esmāʿil died and Ṭahm¯s̄p ascended the throne 19 Rajab 930/23 May 1514 (Savory, Safavids_1980, p.48; Savory, SA_1979, p.48). Thus, Ṭahmās̄p was 10 years and 3 months old when he succeeded his father.

The text adjoining this painting does not appear in ms.L -- it is the only one among 28 known pages that does not have an exact textual correlation. The corresponding painting of this subject occurs as a double page painting in ms.L on folios 306v and 307r (pp.613-14) -- the composition is very similar, but spread over two facing pages. There is no calligraphy accompanying that illustration. The pertaining text ends rather abruptly on folio 206r (p.612), leaving the reader looking for the next line, but there is none. One might also note that in the left margin of f.206r there is, or was, an elaborate handwritten note stretching from the top of the page to near the bottom, which has been smeared and now illegible. It is more than likely this was one of the Bijan's corrections. We do not know for sure what corrections Bijan might have made, but we might propose two items to which he might have well objected in ms.L. Firstly, if this was a manuscript of Esmāʿil's life and accomplishments, why should the only double page painting be devoted to his son and successor. And secondly, why should the text end so abruptly on folio 306r -- perhaps the text we see on this page was for some reason omitted from Ms.L .

It is the end of May and already the scene is portayed at the summer encampment. The young Ṭahmās̄p is seated on a gold throne under a tent canopy. Four Safavid elders on the left do obeisance to the new shah, while four others are seated or standing in attendance on the right. Green groundcover with rocks, flowers, and condiments in the foreground; two pairs of cypress and a deciduous tree behind, with a variegated sky in the far background. The sky is not in Moʿin's style and may well be the hand of an assistant. Two lines of calligraphy above and below the painting. Not signed or dated.

Painting references:
Robinson, Colnaghi_1976, no.56 (uncertain reference).
Sotheby’s London, 14 April 2010, Lot 77.
Christie’s London, 8 October 2015 (Sale 10386), Lot 51

Photo courtesy of Sotheby's.

Robert Eng
Last Updated: May 8, 2016 | Originally published:
October 2, 2012