Bought on 19 March 1898 from Paris booksellers Paul and Guillemin (Fr R. notes). Formerly Blochet no. 1161; new catalogue no. 890, now Supp. pers. 1280.
A de luxe Timurid ms, on beautiful heavy cream paper, with new margins (18th c. restoration ?). The first and last ff. are mssing. It is in two parts, the second starting on f. 258v. The ms. has the start of the Abu Mansuri preface of f. 1v, but continues with the Baysunqur preface on ff. 2v-12r. The text of the poem starts on f. 12v. The satire on Mahmud (ff. 8r-9v) contains 109 bayts.
The text is in small very neat nasta'liq in Indian ink, headings in thulth of a bigger size in gold in rectangular cartouches (17 x 62 mm), where the foreground is filled in with the floral design in gold and polychrome. In the preface, keywords are added in gold and blue in the nastaliq of the same size and style.
All the catchwords are in place. The margins are quite wide (68 mm side, 56 mm on bottom and top), and the open edge of the ms. is decorated with a gold ornament of a herbal pattern.
The binding is European, of thick cardboard covered with red and grey patterned paper and a wide edge, coming to the covers, which are made of quite thick bright red leather, with five thread divisions and the gold stamped inscription Le livre des rois. The doublures are decorated with paper of a peacock feather pattern in blue, light and bright yellow, red and green.
In the colophon (f. 541r) the calligrapher mentions his name and place of origin as Herat. The date 1426 was offered by Blochet probably according to the calligrapher, who was working for the royal atelier of Shah Rukh Bahadur. It was altered by Fr. Richard to ca.1490 (Splendeurs, p. 113), considering that it was the calligrapher who was originally from Herat, while the manuscript was created in Shiraz. His suggestion is based on the very peculiar representation of the beginning of the second part of the poem, which starts with the scene of Luhrasp’s enthronement. On f. 258v the traditional illumination of the first page is combined with the miniature, which is placed right below the unvan; a number of manuscripts from Shiraz from 1470-1500 were executed in the same characteristic manner.
Illuminations: the ms is decorated in very good and neat taste, but is modest in scope. There are three unvans: before the prose introduction (f.1v), at the beginning of the poem (f.12v), and opening the chapter on Luhrasp (f. 258v). The first one has an empty cartouche; the others have their titles.
Fr. Richard considers that the 36 miniatures together with the illuminations are very much in the Turkman style of Shiraz and could belong to the same atelier as the Shahnama ms. Elliott 325 from the Bodleian library, Oxford. However, in as much as the calligrapher mentions Herat, it remains tempting to notice the similarity of the "sea weed" edges in the depiction of the landscape (especially hills and rocks) and several other features, like the vegetation and dress fashion of this ms, with other Herat ones of the period of Muhammad Juki, like the Royal Asiatic Society ms. now held in the British Library.
The facial features of the people are very Mongol, the details of the ornament are very neat, especially of the horses' armour; the sky is usually gold with very curly white Chinese clouds. Pigments are of highest quality, only some of them started to oxidize (light turquoise green, which has just started and silver, which darkened without spoiling the surrounding surface); they are very bright and seem to be of original colour. The faces on all the miniatures are spoiled, at least those of the main heroes, but not in an aggressive way: sometimes, it is just a dot, made by a sharp tool.
The paintings are generally of well-known and standard scenes, frequently represented elsewhere (F.A.).
There are currently no images available for this manuscript.
E. Blochet, Les Enluminure des manuscrits orientaux, turc, arabes, persans dans la biblioteque nationale, Paris, La Gazette des Beaux Arts, 1926, pp. 81-83 and pl. XXXIa-XXXIIIb
F. Edhem and I. Stchoukine, Les manuscrits orientaux illustres de la biblioteque nationale de l’universite de Stamboul dans Memoires de l’Institut francais d’archeologie de Stamboul, Paris, t.1, 1933, no. XXIV, pp. 30-31
B.W. Robinson, "Origin and date of three famous Shah-nameh illustrations", Ars orientalis, I (1954), pp. 108-9
B.W. Robinson, A descriptive catalogue of the Persian paintings in the Bodleian library, Oxford, Clarendon press,1958, pp. 49-54
I. Stchoukine, Les peinture des manuscrit timurides, Paris, Geuthner, 1954, p. 64, no. LVIII and pl. XLVII
Fr. Richard, Les Splendeurs persanes. Manuscrits du XIIe au XVIIe siecle, Bibliotheque nationale, Paris, 1997, p. 113, no. 72