MAḤMUD MIRZĀ (b. 1799, d. between 1854 and 1858), fifteenth son of Fatḥ-ʿAli Shah Qajar (r. 1797-1834), calligrapher, poet, and anthologist. Maḥmud Mirzā was the eldest of Fatḥ-’Ali Shah’s children by his thirty-ninth wife, Maryam Khanom, and the eldest full brother of the shah’s most influential daughter, Żiāʾ-al-Salṭana.

Maḥmud Mirzā was raised in the home of the prime minister, Mirzā Šafi’ Māzandarāni. He was appointed governor of Nahāvand in 1813, and, subsequently, governor of Lorestān in 1825 (Ḵāvari, II, pp. 614 and 987-88; Maḥmud, I, introd.). Maḥmud Mirzā gathered many poets and men of letters (such as Moḥammad-Taqi Lesān-al-Molk Sepehr) at his provincial court in Nahāvand, and constructed a number of impressive buildings in the town, including the Ruʾin-dez fortress, a palace, the Kāḵ-e Homāyun, a madrasafor one of his sons, Siāvaš Mirzā, and a garden, the Bāg-e Šāh. Very few traces of these buildings have survived to the present day (Ḵāvari, II, pp. 987 and 1111; Bāmdād, IV, p. 51; Eʿteżād-al-Salṭana, pp. 204-207; Maḥmud, I, introd.). Maḥmud Mirzā was similarly active in the scholarly fields. He authored over twenty historical, literary and religious works, including two important anthologies of the poetry of Fatḥ-ʿAli Shah, his sons and contemporary male Qajar poets, entitled Safinat al-maḥmud and Bayān al-maḥmud (Maḥmud, I, introd.; Golčin-e Maʿāni, Taḏkerahā [ed. Tehran 1984] I, pp. 137-49 and 728-36).

An accomplished calligrapher and poet, Maḥmud Mirzā trained a number of the shah’s wives and daughters (including Żiāʾ-al-Salṭana and her full sister, Solṭān Begom) to compose poetry and write both šekasta and nasḵ (Maḥmud, II, pp. 699-756; Mošir Salimi, pp. 307-308). The prince also penned two lesser-known works, Sonbolestān and Noql-e majles, which contain invaluable information on contemporary Qajar women and their poetry. In the introduction to Noql-e majles, Maḥmud Mirzā writes that he compiled the work upon the request of Żiāʾ-al-Salṭana (Golčin-e Maʿāni, Taḏkerahā [ed. Tehran 1984], II, pp. 392-93; for printed extracts from the Noql-e majles, see Mošir Salimi, pp. 257 and 307-308).

Maḥmud Mirzā’s principle wife (galin), who was chosen for him byFatḥ-ʿAli Shah, was the daughter of Moḥammad Khan Qājār Iravāni (Ażod-al-Dawla, pp. 61-63; Ḵāvari, I, p. 397). His other wives included Gowhar-Tāj Khanom, daughter of ʿAli-Morād Khan (r. 1781-85), the late Zand ruler. Maḥmud Mirzā also married a relative of Nāder Shah (r. 1736-47) and a woman from Qazvin who had previously been married to the late prime minister, his mentor, Mirzā Šafiʿ Māzandarāni. In total, Maḥmud Mirzā’s wives bore him thirty-four children; seventeen boys and seventeen girls (Ażod-al-Dawla, pp. 230 and 260; Ḵāvari, II, pp. 1109-11). Maḥmud Mirzā opposed the accession of his nephew, Mohammad Shah, in 1834 and was imprisoned along with other rebel princes in Ardabil and later in Tabriz (Ḵāvari, II, pp. 938 and 988; Bāmdād, IV, p. 5). He appears to have died some time between 1854 and 1858, and to have been buried in Nahāvand (see MARYAM KHANOM on Maḥmud Mirzā’s three full brothers Homāyun Mirzā, Aḥmad-ʿAli Mirzā, and Jahānšāh Mirzā, and his a younger sister, Solṭān Begom).



Ażod-al-Dawla [Solṭān Aḥmad Mirzā], Tāriḵ-e ażodi, ed. ʿAbd-al-Ḥosayn Navāʾi, Tehran, 1997.

Mahdi Bāmdād, Tāriḵ-e rejāl-e Irān, 6 vols.; vols. I, II, and IV, Tehran; vol. VI, Tehran, 1972.

Eʿteżād-al-Salṭana [ʿAli-Qoli Khan Mirzā], Eksir al-tawāriḵ, ed. Jamšid Kiānfar, Tehran, 2001.

Golčin-e Maʿāni, Taḏkerahā [ed. Tehran 1984]. Ḵāvari [Mirzā Fażl-Allāh Širāzi], Tāriḵ-e Ḏu ʾl-Qarnayn, 2 vols., ed. Nāṣer Afšārfar, Tehran, 2001.

Lesān-al-Molk [Moḥammad-Taqi Sepehr), Nāseḵ al-tawāriḵ, 3 vols. in 2, ed. Jamšid Kiānfar, Tehran, 1998.

Maḥmud Mirzā Qājār, Safinat al-maḥmud, 2 vols., ed. ʿAbd-al-Rasul Ḵayyāmpur, Tabriz, 1968.

Idem, Majmaʿ-e Maḥmud (including Noql-e majles and Bayān al-Maḥmud), Malek Library, Tehran, MSS no. 4,306.

ʿAli-Akbar Mošir Salimi, Zanān-e soḵanvar, 3 vols., Tehran, 1956-57 (especially vol. 1).


October 7, 2005

(Dominic Parviz Brookshaw)

Originally Published: August 15, 2006

Last Updated: August 15, 2006