Moʿin Moṣavver | Manuscripts | History of Shah Esmāʿil | tāriḵ-e jahāngushā'i-ye ḵāqān-e ṣāḥibibqirān |
A dispersed manuscript of excellent quality describing events during the reign of Shah Esmā'il which originally contained 38 paintings or more. The text has been identified by A.H. Morton as a copy of the tāriḵ-e jahāngushā'i-ye ḵāqān-e ṣāḥibibqirān, which was compiled in the mid-1680's by a Georgian named Bijan who apparently worked at the royal library. Manuscript L (BL Or.3245) appears to be what one might call a "first draft" of that manuscript, for it is annotated with corrections in the margins by the author. Manuscript N appears to be the subsequent revision, more elaborate and of better quality. All of the known paintings have been re-mounted on album pages of varying colors - orange, black, blue, green,beige - with contrasting collars. The pages can be easily distinguished from other Shah Esmāʿil histories by the calligraphy having gold cloudlike interlinear decoration (tahrir).
Location: dispersed at various locations noted with each painting.
Dating: text dates from the 1680's; one painting is dated 990 for 1090/1688.
Calligraphy: good nastāʿliq, without columns, 16 lines to the page
Mount size: varies from 32 to 36 cm. high x 22 to 24 wide.
Text area: approximately 23.5 x 15.0 cm.
For the sake of organization each of the paintings have been labeled with a JK____ designation.This refers to the page in the facsimile edition of manuscript L. This has the advantage that any new page from ms.N that surfaces in the future can be easily located in its proper place in the manuscript without recourse to re-numbering existing pages.
On 6 November 1980 at the HIAA conference in Washighton DC I presented a paper on the Moʿin illustrated historiographies of Esmāʿil, which included preliminary findings on this manuscript. The current state of the "reassembled" manuscript as shown here however, could not be here presented without the considerable accomplishments of two distinguished colleagues: A.H. Morton, and Dr. Eleanor Sims. In 1997 Eleanor Sims, remembering my presentation seventeen years earlier, contacted me regarding this particular manuscript; we compared notes and reconciled our lists of known paintings which in 1998 consisted of 19 paintings. Quite independently, in 1990 Morton identified the manuscript and the author, and established the relationship between ms.L and ms.N, and subsequently, at the request of Dr. Sims, Morton identified many of the subjects of the paintings. Dr. Sims presented her preliminary findings in a paper delivered at a symposiium on Safavid art and culture at the British Museum in March 1997, and then a more developed paper published in Safavid Art and Architecture in 2002. Dr. Sims and I have independently continued the search for additional paintings since we reconciled our lists in 1998. My purpose is to present here in one place at one time all of the known images from this manuscript, and as many images of Moʿin's complete works as possible, along with any pertinent data, references, and current knowledge. 28 paintings are currently listed herewith. Dr. Sims undoubtedly will have more, and we look forward to her forthcoming publication of the catalog of the Islamic Works of the Khalili Islamic Collection and the insights she will add to the body of knowledge. Sadly "Sandy" Morton passed away in 2011; he will be severely missed.
Last Updated: December 27, 2012 | Previously published: October 4, 2012