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Ms. Hamilton 260
Berlin, Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin (in index)
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© Berlin, Staatsbibliotheek zu Berlin - Preussischer Kulturbesitz - Orientabteilung
Accession Number:
Ms. Hamilton 260
Gregorian Date:
18th century
Provincial India
On folio 1r stated that the ms has been purchased in Lucknough in 1765.
Folios extant in ms.:
Columns x Rows:
4 x 29
Page Size (h x w):
430 x 250 mm
Text Size (h x w):
305 x 155 mm
Sample Page Folio:
Ms Type:
Ms Status:
Completion Status:
Ready to upload to website
Illuminations in ms:
Illustrations in ms:
42 ( 41 Shahnama 1 Barzunama )
Illustration Records in archive:
Last updated by:
Date last updated:
2007-05-05 00:00:00
Public Notes
The manuscript was among the items obtained in 1883 from the collection of Alexander Hamilton (1767-1852). According to a note on f. 1r, it had been bought in Lucknow in 1767. The copy of unusual height is bound in red leather (without flap), stamped (central medallion with pendants, corner decoration; cartouches in the border) and painted in gold.

The headings at the beginnings of preface and poem were never executed. Some rubrics (in red) are lacking near the end.

The volume contains the 'old' preface, to which tables listing the Iranian kings with their deeds, and a glossary of names and terms were added. The text of the poem ends with the story of Arjasp.

The manuscript contains 42 text illustrations. At some places, the pictorial sequence is very dense while the last third of the book has only one miniature. Characteristically, the pictures do not closely represent the text, nor are they often placed very precisely, often occurring well before or well after the scenes they are apparently illustrating. There are many marginal additions to the text. The story of Bizhan and Manizha is followed by an interpolated Barzunama, one scene of which is illustrated.

Differences between the paintings may be due to divers models and/or different hands. Many miniatures have an overall 'Iranian' appearance caused by the lack of volume in figure painting, the dress of the women and elements of men's costume, sometimes also by flat architecture or a golden hill in the background. Some details point more to Central Asian models of the early 17th century than to Safavid work of the 16th. Other miniatures seem to be influenced by Mughal painting. Generally, the prominence of yellow, combined with thinly applied dark shades of green, brown, and purple for landscape background, and a deep blue sky, details of palace architecture and the way the walls of fortresses are depicted, and most of the costumes of courtiers, support an Indian origin. An attribution to the later 17th century should not be excluded, however.

(Karin Ruhrdanz)


W. Pertsch, Die Handschriftenverzeichnisse der königlichen Bibliothek zu Berlin, 4: Verzeichnis der persischen Handschriften, Berlin, 1888, p. 734, no. 702a.

I. Stchoukine, B. Flemming, P. Luft & H. Sohrweide, Illuminierte islamische Handschriften, Wiesbaden, 1971, 177-9, no. 65.

G. van den Berg, "The Barzunama in the Berlin Shahnama manuscripts", in press in Ch. Melville, ed. Proceedings of the second Cambridge Shahnama Round Table, November 2003.

Dating Ref:
Stchoukine, I. et al. Illuminierte Islamische Handschriften. (in Orientalische Handschriften in Deutschland) 16 (1971) Franz Steiner Verlag GMBH. Wiesbaden. Germany.
Origin Ref:
Stchoukine, I. et al. Illuminierte Islamische Handschriften. (in Orientalische Handschriften in Deutschland) 16 (1971) Franz Steiner Verlag GMBH. Wiesbaden. Germany.
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 - 42     (back to top)
sample page
f. 017r
Zahhak hears Kava's complaint
f. 020r
Faridun brings Zahhak to Mount Damavand
f. 025v
The murder of Iraj
f. 028v
Manuchihr kills Tur in battle
f. 035v
Zal shoots fowl
f. 043r
Manuchihr and Zal
f. 045v
The birth of Rustam
f. 047r
Sam visits Zal and Rustam
f. 048v
Rustam rides to Kuh-i Sipand
f. 051r
The second battle between Nauzar and Afrasiyab
f. 057v
Kay Kavus enthroned
f. 061r
Rustam's first labour: Rakhsh kills a lion
f. 061v
Rustam's third labour: he kills a dragon
f. 062r
Rustam's fourth labour: he kills the witch
f. 063r
Rustam's fifth labour: he lassoes Aulad
f. 064r
Rustam's sixth labour: he kills Arzhang
f. 065r
Kay Kavus dicates a letter to the King of Mazandaran
f. 070r
Rustam fights the armies of three Kings
f. 072r
Kay Kavus airborne
f. 075v
Suhrab fights Gurdafarid
f. 080r
The first combat of Rustam and Suhrab
f. 088r
Siyavush in Sudaba's private quarters
f. 099r
Siyavush plays polo before Afrasiyab
f. 110v
Rustam comes to Kay Kavus
f. 111v
Faramarz captures Surkha, son of Afrasiyab
f. 113r
Rustam kills Pilsam
f. 114v
Rustam on the throne of Turan
f. 118r
Kay Khusrau and Farangis watch Giv defeat the Turanians
f. 119r
Giv leads Piran before Kay Khusrau and Farangis
f. 132r
Bahram fights Kabuda
f. 136r
Rivniz dies, but Bahram saves his crown
f. 150r
Rustam kills Ashkabus and his horse
f. 151v
Rustam captures and kills Kamus
f. 155v
Rustam confronts the forces of Turan and Chin
f. 160v
Rustam fights Kafur the Cannibal
f. 164r
Rustam wrestles with Puladvand
f. 166r
Akvan Div flings Rustam into the sea
f. 167v
Rustam kills Akvan Div
f. 169r
Bizhan slaughters the wild boar
f. 179r
Rustam rescues Bizhan from the pit
f. 186v
Scene from the Barzunama
f. 226v
Bizhan kills Human