The Islamic Art Department
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© The Metropolitan Museum of Art
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The collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art includes eight Shahnama manuscripts and dozens of single sheets. Among the manuscripts are seventy-six illustrated folios from the often cited 16th-century Shahnama of Shah Tahmasp (1970.301.1-76), and forty-nine leaves and fragments from the so-called Gutman Shahnama dated ca. 1330-1340 (1974.290.1-42, 2003.330.1-7). Two 17th-century manuscripts include illustrations, which are signed by the painter Mu'in Musavvir (13.228.17, 1974.290.43). From the late 16th century are two manuscripts referred to in research as the truncated Shahnamas, whose place of production is unspecified (13.228.11, 13.228.14). Other richly illustrated manuscripts are two codices from the turn of the 17th century, one produced in Herat (13.228.16), and the other in India (13.228.22).
Among the single sheets are a group of twelve paintings from the Sultanate period ca. 1430-1440 (20.120.238-249), and another dozen from late 19th-century Kashmir (68.215.19-30). From the 14th century, there are several leaves from the ´first small` Shahnama, the 1341 Injuid dispersed manuscript, and two from the Great Mongol Shahnama. Other examples include 16th-century illustrations from Shiraz and 17th-century illustrations from Isfahan, signed by Mu'in Musavvir.
Unfortunately, there is no cohesive published catalogue of the manuscripts and folios at the Metropolitan Museum. Some of the manuscripts, which were bequeathed by Alexander Smith Cochran are recorded in Jackson and Yohannan's published catalogue. The list of the Shahnamas as presented in the project is based on the search in the Islamic Art Department's cards and TMS (The Museum System). Visits to the collection were made by Firuza Abdullaeva and Charles Melville, and in November-December 2008 by Charles Melville and Bilha Moor, with kind permission and great assistance of the staff. We would also like to acknowledge the help at an early stage of the project, from Dr Lale Uluc.
Please note that the copyright wording mentioned above is general. The exact copyright is mentioned in the record of each folio.