Formerly Ethé 874. A Hailebury ms., in a modern, half-morocco red binding. The manuscript is dismantled and is kept in two parts; the folios are completely restored. There was no original subdivision into books.
The text opens with a double illuminated title-page (ff. 1v-2r), to introduce the prose preface, incipit: Hamd-u sitayish mar khuday-ra.... The margins covered with blue and gold floral arabesques, but much affected by damp. The poem itself begins on f. 6v under an illuminated heading, also damaged. The damp has also affected the end of the ms. and the reading of the colophon, which defied Ethé. The date is given by Robinson, Persian paintings in the India Office Library, London, 1976, pp. 219-26, who reproduces some of the miniatures, which he assigns to Astarabad, of the first half of the 17th century.
The text includes the Barzunama, interpolated after the story of Bizhan and Manizha. One scene of the Barzunama (f. 238v) is illustrated; the choice of remaining scenes is rather standard. They share a common layout, with a substantial section in the margin running the whole height of the text block, generally but not always an architectrural feature, from which the main action taking place within the written surface of the page is watched. The pictures are generally rather detailed, full of action and liveliness, executed with a dark palette - possibly partly the effect of the damage to the ms.
The attribution to Astarabad may be supported by the observation that the paintings tend to follow the wording of the surrounding text very closely, a characteristic that can be remarked in other examples from this region. On the whole, the text itself is close to the standard editions, though not without some reversal of lines, and omissions and additions from time to time. (Ch.M.).
See also H. Ethé, Persian manuscripts in the India Office, vol. 1, London, 1903, 552 (no. 874).