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Dep. b. 5
Oxford, Bodleian Library (in index)
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© The Bodleian Library, Oxford
Accession Number:
Dep. b. 5
Gregorian Date:
16th century (third quarter)
Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art.
Folios extant in ms.:
Estimated num folios in ms.:
Columns x Rows:
4 x 23
Page Size (h x w):
370 x 230 mm
Text Size (h x w):
233 x 128 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:
24 ( 2 frontispiece(s) 2 finispiece(s) 19 Shahnama 1 other [ Sultan Mahmud ] )
Illustration Records in archive:
Last updated by:
Date last updated:
2010-11-26 14:13
Public Notes
Modern European red leather binding. Ms. in rather good condition. The silver has oxydized, gold in places darkened. Water damaged in places. Many ff. have split along the margin rulings, dividing the text into coulmns. The gilded edge of some of the ff. (e.g. ff. 205-7) is almost detached from the margins. (F.A.)

Illuminated double title page (ff. 2v-3r) and illuminated heading at beginning of poem (f. 15v). Besides the luxurious double frontispiece, every double page containing a miniature has margins richly decorated with golden floral and animal ornamentation.

The text rubrics characteristically take up two lines of text, within a box ruled with thick blue and red margins. The rubric is written in white against a plain gold ground, with a light floral motif of twin arc stems and tulip-like blooms. Many of the rubrics are simply given as 'hikayat' (story) instead of an actual heading for the story.

The text itself is very disturbed, presumably from the time of being given its modern binding. Thus ff. 192r-199v are from the story of Nauzar, bound within the story of Bizhan and Manizha, which also ends abruptly. The story of Forud is also truncated; no doubt the missing folios are to be found elsewhere in the volume, which needs therefore to be examined thoroughly (Ch.M.).

Robinson has identified two artists at work, A (the better) and B.

Project Notes
Need to check what happens between the double frontispiece (ff. 1v-2r) and the illuminated beginning of the Baysunghuri Preface (ff. 3v-4r), i.e. what is on ff. 2v-3r?

First glance – luxurious production, high quality illustrations with very neat details, lots of gold, extremely expensive thick glossy Oriental paper, thick gold edge. Text blocks are covered with gold dust, very tasteful illumination of the headings. However, at a closer look the paintings produce a rather dry and boring impression.

Binding: red leather European binding with doublure of bright colourful marble paper.

The illustrated folios used to have bookmarks – some traces of the formerly attached threads glued in between the layers of the paper sheet (in gold ?, i.e. f. 306) – were all trimmed off.

State and condition: Ms is in a rather fragile state. Some folios need restoration/conservation (double page illuminated frontispiece), f. 21, 27-30, 236-8, 418-9; some of the cuts were restored in the East, horrible effect. Glue dried and tarnished.

Three sample pages give the impression of different styles of chelepa decoration: f. 16r (opposite the unvan which is already on the website), f. 18r – with multicoloured chelepa, ff. 118v, 212v – colourful chelepa (f. 306r – restored chelepa in horrible pink), 19r – opposite the picture of Kayumars with gold drawings on margins (FA)

General Ref:
Norgren, J. & Davis, E. Preliminary index of Shah-nameh illustrations. University of Michigan. Ann Arbor. USA.
Dating Ref:
Robinson, B.W. A descriptive catalogue of the Persian paintings in the Bodleian Library. pp. 171 Clarendon Press. Oxford. UK.
Origin Ref:
Robinson, B.W. A descriptive catalogue of the Persian paintings in the Bodleian Library. pp. 171 Clarendon Press. Oxford. UK.
Illustration Ref:
Robinson, B.W. A descriptive catalogue of the Persian paintings in the Bodleian Library. pp. 171 Clarendon Press. Oxford. UK.
Illustration in archive - 31     (back to top)
sample page
f. 001v
Frontispiece (verso side)
f. 002r
Frontispiece (recto side)
f. 003v
Frontispiece (recto side)
f. 003v
Illuminated title page (verso side)
f. 004r
Illuminated title page (recto side)
f. 008r
Firdausi and his book introduced to Sultan Mahmud
f. 015v
Illuminated unvan
f. 018v
Kayumars enthroned
f. 039v
Manuchihr fights Kakuy, grandson of Zahhak
f. 060v
Rustam enthroned with Kay Qubad on Mount Alburz
f. 069v
Rustam's seventh labour: he kills the White Div
f. 089r
Rustam discovers Suhrab's identity
f. 148v
Human fights Tus
f. 167v
Rustam lifts Shangul from his saddle
f. 177r
Rustam overthrows Puladvand
f. 200v
Rustam rescues Bizhan from the pit (1570)
f. 206r
Giv fights Lahhak and Farshidvard
f. 211v
The coronation of Luhrasp
f. 212r
The coronation of Luhrasp
f. 212v
Illuminated page
f. 262v
Rustam shoots Isfandiyar in the eyes with a double-pointed arrow
f. 306v
Ardashir and Ardavan fight
f. 332r
Bahram Gur hunts in the company of Azada
f. 362v
Bahram Gur is hailed by the Iranians
f. 400v
Buzurjmihr demonstrates how to play the game of chess
f. 475v
Khusrau Parviz and Shirin in his palace
f. 490v
Shirin commits suicide by the coffin of Khusrau Parviz
f. 506v
Finispiece (verso side)
f. 507r
Finispiece (recto side)