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Lewis O. 57
Philadelphia, Free Library of Philadelphia (in index)
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© Rare Book Department, Free Library of Philadelphia
Accession Number:
Lewis O. 57
Gregorian Date:
18th century (second Half)
Abu Mansur
Folios extant in ms.:
Columns x Rows:
4 x 31
Page Size (h x w):
458 x 254 mm
Text Size (h x w):
333 x 158 mm
Indian Nasta'liq
Colophon Folio:
Sample Page Folio:
Num Other Colophons:
Ms Type:
Ms Status:
Completion Status:
Ready to upload to website
Illuminations in ms:
Illustrations in ms:
44 ( 40 Shahnama 3 Barzunama 1 other [ Rustam legend ] )
Illustration Records in archive:
Last updated by:
Date last updated:
2009-02-03 17:35
Public Notes
The volume is heavy and the binding is in very poor condition, gold-tooled with uncut edges, in modern Persian morocco (470 x 260 mm). The outside covers have an elongated medallion, pendants and corner angles, surrounded by panels stamped with floral patterns and bound by a double gilt cording (Simsar). The binding is very tight, and the back cover (board) is now (November 2008) detached from the book. The doublures are of plain paper.

The original Indian pagination of the manuscript re-starts with the beginning of the poem (f. 7v = f. 2v) and then occasionally disappears. The whole ms. was paginated by Ch. Melville in November 2008. The ms. is not fully trimmed, so that the instructions for the wording of the rubrics are still visible in many places, e.g. at f. 75v and onwards, and especially in the last 100 folios or so.

The ms. starts with the 'older' (Abu Mansuri) preface, ff. 1v-6r, including the satire on Sultan Mahmud. The Shahnama begins on f. 7v, following two blank pages (ff. 6v-7r), under an illuminated heading. The text is in four sections (daftar), each starting under an illuminated unvan, as follows:

Daftar 1, ff. 7v-131r. Fols. 131v-132r are blank.

Daftar 2, ff. 132v-249v. Fol. 250r blank.

Daftar 3, ff. 250v-377r. Fols. 377v-378r are blank.

Daftar 4, ff. 378v (story of Anushirvan). Note that the Indian pagination starts again (at 1) in daftar 4.

The paper is thick glazed native paper, crackly and polished with a dull finish, slightly resembling parchment.

Marginal frames are ruled in gold, black and blue: the outer frame is two thin black; the inner is dark blue, space, two thin black, thick gold, space, dark black. The columns are ruled in two thin black lines, as are the rubric boxes. Headings are written in crimson nasta'liq, with some traces of gold ornament in floral patterns.

Simsar does not list the 44 miniatures contained in the ms.; he regards these as the work of a single artist of the Mughal school, and painted 'much later' than the copying of the manuscript, which he dates to the second half of the 18th century. This claim needs to be substantiated: the painting and illumination seem to be typical Kashmiri work all of a piece with the text.

Neither the final colophon nor the endings of the previous three daftars contain any information about the copying of the text.

See the catalogue of Simsar, pp. 89-90.

Project Notes
Updated from visit of Nov. 2008.

Still to add dimensions etc.

Dimensions added.

New images entered for the binding and folios: 47v, 386r, 399r. Bilha

Charles, judging by the style of the miniatures, it seems to me that this manuscript was produced in Kashmir ca. 1820. I even think that whom I refer to as "Painter A" in ms. O.59, also illustrated this ms. BM

OK, why not? Have entered your suggested date, but not the bit about the painters.

Updated the date (19th century, first half) in the ms. record and all the illustrations, except fol. 360v, which is locked. BM

Dating Ref:
Simsar, M.A. Oriental manuscripts of the John Frederick Lewis Collection in the Free Library of Philadelphia: a descriptive catalogue. Philadelphia. USA.
Origin Ref:
Melville, C. Personal notes.
Illustration Ref:
Simsar, M.A. Oriental manuscripts of the John Frederick Lewis Collection in the Free Library of Philadelphia: a descriptive catalogue. Philadelphia. USA.
Illustration in archive - 64     (back to top)
sample page
f. 001v
Firdausi and his book introduced to Sultan Mahmud
f. 007v
Illuminated unvan
f. 010r
Kayumars enthroned
f. 017v
Jamshid sawn in half before Zahhak
f. 022r
Faridun binds Zahhak
f. 038v
Rudaba lets down her hair for Zal to climb up
f. 047v
The birth of Rustam
f. 054r
Zal shoots Gulbad
f. 062v
Unidentified scene
f. 067v
Rustam's third labour: he kills a dragon
f. 068r
Rustam's fourth labour: he kills the witch
f. 069v
Rustam's seventh labour: he kills the White Div
f. 085v
Rustam mortally wounds Suhrab
f. 107r
Guruy executes Siyavush
f. 117r
Kay Khusrau crosses the Oxus with Farangis and Giv
f. 127v
Farud retreats to his fortress and is mortally wounded by Ruhham
f. 132v
Illuminated unvan
f. 143r
Rustam kills Ashkabus and his horse
f. 150r
Rustam pulls the Khaqan of Chin from his elephant by lasso
f. 157v
Rustam kills Akvan Div
f. 169v
Rustam rescues Bizhan from the pit
f. 169v
Rustam rescues Bizhan from the pit
f. 176v
Scene from the Barzunama
f. 190r
Barzu's mother prevents Rustam from killing Barzu
f. 201v
Scene from the Barzunama
f. 209r
Bizhan kills Human
f. 216r
The sixth combat: Bizhan kills Ruyin
f. 217v
The eleventh combat: Gudarz kills Piran
f. 229r
Kay Khusrau kills Shida
f. 243vA
The execution of Afrasiyab
f. 243vB
The execution of Garsivaz
f. 249r
Rustam and other champions searching in the mountains for their comrades lost in the snow
f. 250v
Illuminated unvan
f. 259r
Gushtasp enthroned
f. 268v
The death of Luhrasp in battle against the forces of Arjasp
f. 274v
Isfandiyar's fourth labour: he kills the sorceress
f. 275v
Isfandiyar's fifth labour: he kills the Simurgh
f. 291r
Rustam shoots Isfandiyar in the eyes with a double-pointed arrow
f. 295v
Rustam kills Shaghad before dying
f. 304v
Iskandar attends the dying Dara
f. 312v
Iskandar visits Qaydafa disguised as a messenger
f. 318r
Iskandar builds a wall against Gog and Magog
f. 345r
Bahram Gur hunts in the company of Azada
f. 352r
A drunken shoemaker rides on Bahram Gur's escaped lion
f. 360v
Bahram Gur goes to the hunting grounds
f. 378v
Illuminated unvan
f. 386r
Nushzad killed in battle with Ram Barzin
f. 399r
Buzurjmihr demonstrates how to play the game of chess
f. 439r
Bahram Chubina captures Nastuh
f. 459r
Mihr Hurmuzd murders Khusrau Parviz