This miniature and that of the following lot are from a dated Shahnama manuscript copied by the scribe Muhyi. Other miniatures from this manuscript have sold in these Rooms, 11 October 2005, lots 100 and 101. Another sold more recently, 6 October 2009, lot 144. Two of those were signed by the artist Siyavush, an artist accredited with nineteen paintings from the Shahnama made for Shah Isma'il II (1576-77) (see B.W. Robinson, 'Isma'il II's Copy of the Shahnama', Iran: Journal of the British Institute of Persian Studies, Vol. 14, 1-8). Whilst probably not attributable to Siyavush himself, our miniatures are probably the product of an artist working closely alongside him and displaying a number of stylistic similarities.
Miniatures from this period occupy an important position in the history of Persian painting, spanning the period between the reigns of Shah Tahmasp and Shah 'Abbas I. Shah Isma'il II's brief reign of eighteen months was amongst the most bloody and disruptive of those of the Safavids. As well being responsible for the murder of most of his family, he was neglectful of affairs of state. However, he did not neglect the arts, and most probably commissioned the Shahnama manuscript discussed above shortly after his succession. He quickly assembled an atelier of young artists in his capital of Qazvin, including Zayn al-Abidin, Sadiq Beg, 'Ali Ashgar, Naqdi, Murad, Mihrab, Burji and Siyavush. See also B.W. Robinson, Persian Miniature Painting, London, 1967, no.56, p.62.