The Bibliotheque nationale de France holds a large and important collection of copies of Firdausi's Shahnama. These have been catalogued by E. Blochet, Catalogue des manuscrits persans de la Bibliotheque nationale, vol. III, Paris, 1928, and, so far as the illustrated manuscripts are concerned, by the same author's series of articles, Les peintures des manuscrits orientaux de la Bibliotheque nationale, Paris, 1914-1920. More recently, many of the illustrated mss have been presented by Francis Richard, Les splendeurs persanes. Manuscrits du XIIe au XVIIe siecle, Paris, 1997. A general account of the formation of the earliest oriental collections is given by the same author's Le livre persan, Paris, 2003, pp. 7-23: Le Supplement persan: l'acquisition de manuscrits par le departement des Manuscrits de 1739 a nos jours. The Shahnama Project has also benefited greatly from Fr. Richard's expert help, and from his unpublished catalogue notes.
Work on the collection was begun by Christine van Ruymbeke (CvR), continued by Firuza Abdullaeva (FA) and completed by Charles Melville (ChM).
The images from the Shahnama manuscripts have been supplied by arrangement with the Bibliotheque nationale in such a way that clicking on the thumbnails to obtain a larger image provides access directly to the BNF's own website presentation of the manuscripts and their paintings, from which copies may be ordered, etc. We are grateful to Monique Cohen for first setting this scheme in motion, and to Thierry Delcourt for ensuring its eventual completion. We also thank Matthieu Bonicel for his technical assistance and collaboration.