Manuscripts from the Minutoli series were obtained in Tehran, Isfahan, Shiraz and Hamadan in 1860-61 by an expedition lead by J. F. von Minutoli and K. H. Brugsch and purchased by the library in several portions.
The decoration of the manuscript is in accordance with date (15 Shawwal 1245) and region (khitta-yi Kashmir), as indicated in the colophon. Its covers (no flap) are made from lacquered cardboard, the outside painted on a golden ground with large flowers in the central area and tendrils in the borders. On the inside they show a bouquet on a red ground framed by a scalloped arch.
The epic (without a preface) starts on a double-page frontispiece carefully executed in deep blue, gold, orange, some purple, black and white. Apart from the two lobed triangles at the right and left there are two more above and beneath the text area split between the two pages. The background as well as the larger decorative units, including four palmette-like shapes in the corners, is filled with flowering tendrils. Four small cartouches within the border immediately framing the text panels contain the Basmalla, the title of the book and the name of the author.
The manuscript is divided into four parts (beginning ff. 1v, 155v, 314v and 474v) each provided with a heading which repeats decorative elements of the opening. The interpolated story of Barzu is not specially marked. The volume contains 98 text illustrations. Four fifths of the pictures illustrate the first two parts of the text. The extensive illustrative cycle comprises a number of lesser known subjects and some unusual pictorial solutions, including the last miniature that shows a veiled and haloed hero fighting the Persian commander Rustam.
The relatively large illustrations allow for differentiated landscape and architectural backgrounds. Landscape is composed of strongly coloured areas, specified as meadows, hills, mountains and sky placed one above the other. Composition concentrates on the narrative, with few additional figures. Among the stereotyped faces and figures some faces of older heroes awaiting death exhibit a more realistic expression of emotions.
W. Pertsch, Die Handschriftenverzeichnisse der königlichen Bibliothek zu Berlin, 4: Verzeichnis der persischen Handschriften, Berlin, 1888, pp. 731-2, no. 700.
I. Stchoukine, B. Flemming, P. Luft & H. Sohrweide, Illuminierte islamische Handschriften, Wiesbaden, 1971, 201-5, no. 73.
For a general assessment of Kashmirian painting of the late 18th/early 19th century see A. Adamova & T. Greck (Grek), Miniatures from Kashmirian manuscripts, Leningrad, 1976.