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Ms. or. fol. 4252
Berlin, Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin (in index)
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Accession Number:
Ms. or. fol. 4252
Hijri Date:
1042 Safar
Gregorian Date:
1632 August (to nearest hijri month)
Hasan b. Ahmad
Folios extant in ms.:
Columns x Rows:
4 x 25
Page Size (h x w):
360 x 220 mm
Text Size (h x w):
260 x 140 mm
Colophon Folio:
Sample Page Folio:
Ms Type:
Ms Status:
Completion Status:
Ready to upload to website
Illuminations in ms:
Illustrations in ms:
26 ( 24 Shahnama 2 Barzunama )
Illustration Records in archive:
Last updated by:
Date last updated:
0000-00-00 00:00:00
Public Notes
The manuscript entered the library in 1939. According to a colophon at the end of the first part (jild) of the Shahnama (f. 344v) this was completed at the end of Safar 1042/middle of September 1632 by Ahsan b. Ahmad. Since the last folio of the volume is lost, the time of the completion of the text can only be concluded from the date at the end of the Baysunghur preface (f. 10v), Rajab 1043/January 1634.

The copying done, the manuscript was left unfinished. Of the originally intended illuminations none was executed, not even the lines framing the columns. The uneven quality of the writing, mainly a good professional nasta'liq, but deteriorating in some places, may have played a role in the abandoning of the work.

The 26 miniatures were added about 200 years later in the early Qajar period. With their simple compositions and dark colours without lustre, they are of mediocre quality. The main actors confront the onlooker instead of communicating with each other, thus turning the scene into a charade. The painter must have seen his most important task in spreading as many jewels as possible on the men’s attire.

The only large interpolation is the Barzunama. It is unusually placed following the story about Suhrab (ff. 120r-142r) and provided with two miniatures, a comparatively high rate as against the total number of illustrations (26). Generally, the selection of episodes favours well-known subjects and demonstrates the common neglect - particularly since the later half of the 16th century - of the 'historical' part of the Shahnama. Only two of the miniatures (ff. 202r, 468r) are dedicated to rarely illustrated subjects.

(Karin Ruhrdanz)


I. Stchoukine, B. Flemming, P. Luft & H. Sohrweide, Illuminierte islamische Handschriften, Wiesbaden, 1971, pp. 109-10, no. 39.

Gabrielle van den Berg, "The The Barzunama in the Berlin Shahnama Manuscripts", forthcoming in Ch. Melville, ed. Proceedings of the Second Cambridge Shahnama Round Table, November 2003.

Dating Ref:
Colophon Extracted from the colophon of the work.
Illustration Ref:
Stchoukine, I. et al. Illuminierte Islamische Handschriften. (in Orientalische Handschriften in Deutschland) 16 (1971) Franz Steiner Verlag GMBH. Wiesbaden. Germany.
Illustration in archive - 26     (back to top)
sample page
f. 019r
f. 038v
Zahhak brought before Faridun (1632)
f. 052r
Manuchihr kills Tur in battle (1632)
f. 084r
Rustam pursues the Turanians (1632)
f. 092v
Rustam's seventh labour: he kills the White Div (1632)
f. 117r
Rustam mortally wounds Suhrab (1632)
f. 128v
Scene from the Barzunama (1632)
f. 139r
Barzu's mother prevents Rustam from killing Barzu (1632)
f. 157r
Siyavush plays polo before Afrasiyab (1632)
f. 176v
Rustam kills Pilsam (1632)
f. 202r
Scene from the Faramarznama (1632)
f. 215r
Rivniz dies, but Bahram saves his crown (1632)
f. 233v
Rustam kills Ashkabus and his horse (1632)
f. 254r
Akvan Div flings Rustam into the sea (1632)
f. 271r
Rustam fights Barkhiyas Div (interpolation) (1632)
f. 296r
Gudarz and Piran name their champions for the single combats (1632)
f. 310r
Kay Khusrau throws Shida to the ground (1632)
f. 331v
The execution of Afrasiyab (1632)
f. 353r
Gushtasp plays polo before Caesar (1632)
f. 386v
Isfandiyar kills Arjasp to rescue his sisters (1632)
f. 405v
Rustam and Isfandiyar parley (1632)
f. 414v
Rustam shoots Isfandiyar in the eyes with a double-pointed arrow (1632)
f. 468r
Iskandar encounters Israfil (1632)
f. 531v
Bahram Gur wrestles before Shangul (1632)
f. 554v
Bahram Chubina and Khusrau Parviz fight for the third time (1632)
f. 590r
Sa'd-i Vaqqas kills Rustam (1632)