An illustrated leaf from a dispersed manuscript of Firdausi's Shahnama: Khusraw being murdered by Mehr Hormozd in a palace chamber, signed by Mu'in Musavvir Persia, Isfahan, circa 1667

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Lot 3*
An illustrated leaf from a dispersed manuscript of Firdausi's Shahnama: Khusraw being murdered by Mehr Hormozd in a palace chamber, signed by Mu'in Musavvir
Persia, Isfahan, circa 1667

Sold for £ 4,375 (US$ 5,366) inc. premium
An illustrated leaf from a dispersed manuscript of Firdausi's Shahnama: Khusraw being murdered by Mehr Hormozd in a palace chamber, signed by Mu'in Musavvir
Persia, Isfahan, circa 1667
Persian manuscript on paper, 30 lines to the page written in four columns of nasta'liq script in black ink, headings in nasta'liq script in red ink, double intercolumnar rules in gold, inner margins ruled in blue, red and gold
leaf 354 x 230 mm.

Footnotes

  • Inscribed in the lower margin: raqam-e kamineh mu'in musavver, 'drawn by the most humble Mu'in Musawwir'.

    Six other leaves from the same manuscript, at least one of which is signed by Mu'in Musavvir and dated AH 1077/AD 1666-67, are in the collection of the late Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan (now in the Aga Khan Museum Collection). In addition to the signature in the lower margin, the style, layout and colours of this miniature, the dimensions of the page, and the presence of a number in the margin opposite the painting confirm that the leaf is from the same manuscript. For another leaf, apparently from the same dispersed manuscript, see the sale in these rooms, Bonhams, Islamic and Indian Art, 7th October 2010, lot 13.

    Mui'n Mussavvir studied under Riza 'Abbasi and over the course of a career lasting sixty years is known to have illustrated five manuscripts of the Shahnama, amongst other works, including single-page paintings. His last work is dated AH 11[0]9/AD 1697 and he is thought to have died shortly afterwards.

    See Sheila Canby, Princes, Poets and Paladins: Islamic and Indian Paintings from the collection of Prince and Princess Sadruddin Aga Khan, London 1998, pp. 85-86, no. 57; ibid., Spirit and Life: Masterpieces of Islamic Art from the Aga Khan Museum Collection, Geneva 2007, p. 182, no. 155.
    For a recent study on Mu'in Musavvir and his work, see Sheila Canby, 'An Illustrated Shahnameh of 1650: Isfahan in the service of Yazd', in The Journal of the David Collection, vol. 3, Copenhagen 2010, pp. 54-113.
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