Rather a handsome copy of the Shahnama, purchased by the Bodmer family in Lucerne in 1948. It is in reasonable condition, although well worn. Paper creamy, a little rubbed, with some repairs, and some folios torn. Some liquid has been spilled over it, ff. 90v-91r.
The binding is original, with a black leather panel, carved with a gold central scalloped cartouche and two pendants above and below, gold corner pieces. Framed in red leather with rubbed gold ruled margins. Spine plain red leather. Doublures plain soft black leather, faint ruled gold margins.
The margins are ruled with blue, space, crimson red, space, double thin black with gold, thick gold. The columns are ruled with double thin black with gold and a large intervening space. Rubrics generally take up two lines, ruled in same double thin black with gold. Headings in red (tomato) nasta'liq, in the same fine hand as the text.
Preliminaries: A frontispiece on 1v, faces a space left blank for another frontispiece on 2r. The prose preface starts on f. 3r, the incipit is not normative. The poem starts, normally, on f. 6v under nice 'unvan (53 x 157 mm).
Text: catchwords are added later to the opening folios and those with repairs (e.g. ff. 497, 498). The catchwords seem otherwise correct throughout, except where a folio appears to be missing (between f. 465v and 466r). The chalipa script on f. 465v would suggest the likelihood that the next folio contained a painting, and the story here concerns the fight of Bahram Chubina and the Sava Shah. In fact, this painting is misplaced and is now found on f. 233v, where it was evidently incorrectly inserted after becoming detached.
Another folio seems to be missing between f. 524v and 525r, according to the catchword. The ms. breaks off abruptly before the end; as a result, the colophon is missing.
A clue to the date of the ms. and its paintings is given by the signature of the artist, Sultan 'Ali Shushtari, and the year, 984 hijri, on the front panel of the throne in the frontispiece (f. 1v). The box in which the ms. is preserved assigns it to the 16th century.
The ms. contains 62 other paintings, almost all depicting well-known scenes in the Shahnama. Some are rather rubbed and show signs of fairly extensive repainting; ff. 166v and 197r are badly torn and simply repaired. (Ch.M.)