The colophon of the ms. is lacking: the only dated painting (f. 516v) is dated 934/1527-8. The ms. is considered to have been started in the reign of Shah Isma'il (d. 1524) and work continued into the late 1530s, with final additions in c. 1540.
The manuscript was dispersed by its last owner, Arthur A. Houghton, the greatest remaining part now found in the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tehran. Other folios are found in numerous private and public collections (see also under Dispersed mss).
There is an extensive bibliography concerning this supreme royal manuscript, which has been studied in detail and fully published by M.B. Dickson & S.C. Welch, The Houghton Shahnameh, 2 vols., Cambridge MA, 1981.
Most of these folios have not yet been examined for the Shahnama Project; a fully illustrated catalogue of the manuscript has been produced by Sheila R. Canby, The Shahnama of Shah Tahmasp. The Persian Book of Kings (New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2014).
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of Arthur A. Houghton, Jnr., 1970 . (1970.301.1-.76) Photographs all @ 2004 The Metropolitan Museum of Art.