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© Fondation Martin Bodmer
Accession Number:
Hijri Date:
Gregorian Date:
1576 (to nearest hijri year)
Family Bodmer, purchased Lucerne, 1948.
Folios extant in ms.:
Estimated num folios in ms.:
Columns x Rows:
4 x 25
Page Size (h x w):
382 x 245 mm
Text Size (h x w):
290 x 164 mm
Sample Page Folio:
Ms Type:
Ms Status:
Defective at end
Completion Status:
Ready to upload to website
Illuminations in ms:
Illustrations in ms:
63 ( 1 frontispiece(s) 62 Shahnama )
Illustration Records in archive:
Last updated by:
Date last updated:
0000-00-00 00:00:00
Public Notes
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.)

Dating Ref:
Signature Signed painting.
Folio Ref:
Melville, C. Personal notes. Cambridge. UK.
Illustration in archive - 68     (back to top)
sample page
Binding (1576)
f. 001v
Frontispiece (verso side) (1576)
f. 003r
Illuminated title page (recto side) (1576)
f. 006v
Illuminated unvan (1576)
f. 010v
Jamshid teaches the crafts (1576)
f. 018r
Faridun binds Zahhak (1576)
f. 024r
The murder of Iraj (1576)
f. 028v
Manuchihr kills Tur in battle (1576)
f. 037r
Rudaba lets down her hair for Zal to climb up (1576)
f. 049r
Rustam kills Zal's white elephant (1576)
f. 054v
Nauzar lead captive before Afrasiyab (1576)
f. 059r
Rustam catches Rakhsh (1576)
f. 067v
Rustam's third labour: he kills a dragon (1576)
f. 070r
Rustam's seventh labour: he kills the White Div (1576)
f. 077r
Rustam parleys with the King of Hamavaran (1576)
f. 085r
Suhrab fights Gurdafarid (1576)
f. 093v
Rustam laments for the dying Suhrab (1576)
f. 097r
Siyavush in Sudaba's private quarters (1576)
f. 100r
The fire ordeal of Siyavush (1576)
f. 119v
Guruy executes Siyavush (1576)
f. 131r
Giv leads Piran before Kay Khusrau and Farangis (1576)
f. 135v
The coronation of Kay Khusrau (1576)
f. 144v
The Iranians mourn Farud (1576)
f. 150r
Rivniz dies, but Bahram saves his crown (1576)
f. 166v
Rustam kills Ashkabus and his horse (1576)
f. 169r
Rustam kills Chingish (1576)
f. 182r
Rustam overthrows Puladvand (1576)
f. 185r
Rustam kills Akvan Div (1576)
f. 197r
Rustam rescues Bizhan from the pit (1576)
f. 207v
Bizhan kills Human (1576)
f. 215r
Giv fights Piran (1576)
f. 218v
The second combat: Giv stuns Guruy Zirih (1576)
f. 220v
The eleventh combat: Gudarz kills Piran (1576)
f. 223v
Gustaham pursues Lahhak and Farshidvard (1576)
f. 232v
Kay Khusrau kills Shida (1576)
f. 233v
A full scale battle between the armies of Iran and Turan (1576)
f. 251r
The execution of Afrasiyab (1576)
f. 265v
Gushtasp kills a dragon in Rum (1576)
f. 287r
Isfandiyar's second labour: he fights the lions (1576)
f. 301v
Rustam boasts about his strength (1576)
f. 305v
Rustam and Rakhsh wounded by the arrows of Isfandiyar (1576)
f. 308v
Rustam shoots Isfandiyar in the eyes with a double-pointed arrow (1576)
f. 313v
Rustam kills Shaghad before dying (1576)
f. 320r
Darab receives the crown (1576)
f. 323v
The first battle of Iskandar against Dara (1576)
f. 325v
Iskandar attends the dying Dara (1576)
f. 339r
Iskandar in Abyssinia (1576)
f. 343r
Iskandar and the talking tree (1576)
f. 351v
Ardashir and Ardavan fight (1576)
f. 356v
Ardashir recognizes Shapur during a polo game (1576)
f. 363v
Bahram III, son of Bahramiyan enthroned (1576)
f. 371v
Shapur executes Mani (1576)
f. 375r
Bahram Gur shows his prowess on the hunting grounds (1576)
f. 380r
Bahram Gur fights two lions to win the throne (1576)
f. 387r
Bahram Gur with Barzin's daughters (1576)
f. 392r
Bahram Gur hunts lions (1576)
f. 394r
Bahram Gur kills the dragon that had killed a youth (1576)
f. 396v
Bahram Gur captures the Khaqan of Chin (1576)
f. 403r
Bahram Gur kills a dragon in India (1576)
f. 415r
Anushirvan enthroned (1576)
f. 431v
Anushirvan executes Zarvan and the Jew (1576)
f. 437v
Anushirvan receives the Khaqan's daughter (1576)
f. 479v
Khusrau Parviz and Bahram Chubina dispute kingship rights (1576)
f. 493r
Bahram Chubina kills Kut the Roman (1576)
f. 499r
Bahram Chubina kills Maqatura (1576)
f. 523r
Mihr Hurmuzd murders Khusrau Parviz (1576)