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Isfahan, Central Library, University of Isfahan (in index)
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© University of Isfahan, Central Library. Photo: Charles Melville
Accession Number:
Gregorian Date:
18th century (late)
Entered library in 1355/1976, according to library stamp on f. 1r.
Folios extant in ms.:
Columns x Rows:
4 x 23
Page Size (h x w):
374 x 225 mm
Text Size (h x w):
261 x 136 mm
Colophon Folio:
Sample Page Folio:
Num Other Colophons:
Ms Type:
Ms Status:
Completion Status:
Ready to upload to website
Illuminations in ms:
Illustrations in ms:
16 ( 16 Shahnama )
Illustration Records in archive:
Last updated by:
Date last updated:
2007-10-12 21:52:39
Public Notes

The manuscript was apparently acquired by the Central Library in or before 1355/1976, its provenance seemingly unrecorded. It is bound in plain black leather covers with a simple stamped ornament and a plain spine. The doublures are of blue and white checked paper. The manuscript must have been rebound, as there is now very considerable disorganisation of the folios; there is some heavy worm damage around ff. 10-20, which may once have been nearer the front of the volume. Most of the pictures are inserted in the wrong place in the text On the other hand, the order may have been disturbed at an early date, even before the paintings and illuminations were added: the text starts on f. 1v under an ornamented 'unvan, predominantly executed in gold (150 x 130 mm), with the incipit "ala ay dilavari sarv-i buland" (Mohl, ch. 40, v. 392), i.e. where the poet is complaining about his old age: hardly the normal place to start the poem. Fol. 2r is already plunged into the story of the Akvan Div.

The text is divided into two sections (daftar); the first ends on f. 367r (in the section on Furud), the second on f. 613 r (with Isfandiyar and Arjasp). Neither has a colophon; but there is a colophon of sorts on f. 239v (early in the reign of Anushirvan), apparently giving a day and month (but no year). More work needs to be done to reconstitute the manuscriopt in its correct order and explain some of these peculiarities in the arrangement of the text as it currently exists; as the catchwords are generally present, this should not be too difficult.

The ms. is evidently of Kashmiri or north Indian origin, from the late 18th or early 19th century. The calligraphy is quite neat and regular Indian nasta'liq, in black ink, and the text is generally rather close to the standard editions. The text headings (rubrics) are in red, in a much cruder hand and in many places around ff. 580s, where they have escaped being trimmed, the instructions to the calligrapher have been ignored. On ff. 413r-415r, the headings are in beautifully calligraphed royal blue, clearly by a separate hand. The paper is thin, polished and crackly, of a pale colour and quite fine. The manuscript is in very good condition, seemingly hardly ever opened. Foliation (every 10 folios) was done at the time of this investigation.

The page margins consist of a single blue outer line and the text frame is ruled in with a single blue and twin dark red lines. The columns and panels for the headings are of a single red line.

The ms. contains two illuminated headings, on ff. 1v and 368v (the putative start of daftar two: in the middle of the story of Isfandiyar and Gushtasp).

There are 16 miniature paintings, some in stepped format with a few lines of poetry, some full page with no text. They are mainly inserted out of order, as shown by the catchwords. Three of the paintings (ff. 7v, 107v, 309v) have text on their recto side in the normal way; the other thirteen have the very unusual feature, not so far found in any other ms., that they are on a thicker folio and the title of the scene is found on the other side, in a full page floral panel. Without these titles, most of the scenes would not be easily identifiable, as they show indifferent interior scenes with several figures grouped round a kneeling prince. The execution is on the whole rather coarse and in most of the outdoor scenes, flat washes of plain colours (pale blues, yellows, orange) predominate.

Thanks to


Dating Ref:
Melville, C. Personal notes.
Origin Ref:
Melville, C. Personal notes.
Illustration Ref:
Melville, C. Personal notes.
Illustration in archive - 30     (back to top)
sample page
f. 007v
Kay Khusrau receives Rustam after he has killed Akvan Div
f. 010r
Khusrau Parviz goes hunting
f. 010v
Illuminated page
f. 058r
Bahram Gur entertains Shangul and the seven monarchs
f. 058v
Illuminated page
f. 060r
f. 060v
Illuminated page
f. 107v
f. 179r
Bahram Gur enthroned after killing the lions
f. 179v
Illuminated page
f. 241r
Anushirvan displays his prowess before Babak
f. 241v
Illuminated page
f. 309v
Afrasiyab summons his army
f. 365r
f. 365v
Illuminated page
f. 397r
Jamshid sawn in half before Zahhak
f. 397v
Illuminated page
f. 430r
Illuminated page
f. 430v
Guruy executes Siyavush
f. 454r
Shapur fights the brother of Caesar
f. 454v
Illuminated page
f. 480r
Kay Kavus airborne
f. 480v
Illuminated page
f. 519r
Illuminated page
f. 519v
The Simurgh carries Zal to her nest
f. 560r
Shiruy (Qubad) enthroned
f. 560v
Illuminated page
f. 592r
Illuminated page
f. 592v
Rustam mortally wounds Suhrab