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Or. 1354 (15)
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Accession Number:
Or. 1354 (15)
Hijri Date:
1215 Rabi' I 6
Gregorian Date:
1800 July 27
Sialkot, N. India
Presented by Major RG and Col. TG Gayer-Anderson, 19 January 1943
Rahim Bakhsh b. Muhammad Bakhsh
Folios extant in ms.:
Columns x Rows:
4 x 25
Page Size (h x w):
351 x 205 mm
Text Size (h x w):
277 x 150 mm
nim shikasta
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:
66 ( 62 Shahnama 3 Barzunama 1 other )
Illustration Records in archive:
Last updated by:
Date last updated:
2013-12-14 11:49
Public Notes
Provenance: according to the information on the fly leaf the manuscript was presented to the library by Major R.G. Gayer-Anderson (Pasha) and Col. T.G. Gayer-Anderson on 19 January 1943.

The copy contains colophons at the end of each of the four sections (jild) into which the volume is divided: section 1 on f. 190r, section 2 on 332v, section 3 on 451r and 578r at the end. The date of its copying can be extracted only from the colophon on f.451r: 6 Rajab 1214/ 7 August 1799, with another date 915, which can be the date of the protograph used by the calligrapher in his work.

Both colophons (ff. 451r and 578r) also have name of the calligrapher and the place he worked: Rahim Bakhsh son of Muhammad Bakhsh son of Pir Muhammad hafiz-i Qur’an. The date of completion in the final colophon (f. 578r) is partly damaged: the month is clear, 6 rabi‘ al-awwal, but the year is illegible, and has been replaced in a later hand with the year 806 (?); it must presumably have been the year after part 3 was completed, so 6 Rabi` I, 1215 (= ). The place is Sialkot (modern Pakistan).

The calligraphy, paper and mostly paintings witness the Indian origin of the copy. The handwriting is nasta‘liq of the moderate rate, with characteristic Indian cursive elements of the end of the 18-19 cc. Text in Indian ink, headings are mostly missing, if they exist - they are in red, which is much faded.

Total foliage is 578 ff., which appears to represent the full copy, however heavily interpolated and without any prose preface. Book is divided into 4 parts.

Ff.190v-191r and 451v-452r are left empty.

Text is organized in 4 columns of 25 lines; page size: 351 x 205 mm; text size: 277 x 157 mm.

Incipit pretends to be normative (with the regular first misra only):

ba jan-i khudavand-u jan-u khirad

K-az in bar mi andisha bar naguzarad


Pasandida kardam yaqin-i pak-buy

Zi pay-u zi amr-u shudam mushk-buy

The paper is Oriental, thin, matt, creamy, of the moderate quality. The binding is very simple, of light brown leather with lilac crepe paper glued over both exterior covers.

The manuscript is in good condition, restored, partly remargined.

The copy is decorated with 4 unwans (ff.1v, 191v, 333v, 452v). The 1st is of a very simple design of floral and geometric ornament. Green ate several significant holes. Basmalla inside it crossed out! Three others are of better quality and condition with the basmalla left untouched.

There are 66 illustrations in Indian style. On the flyleaf there is an inscription by one of the owners with the notes about the amount of paintings in every chapter: “book 1 - 17 paintings; book 2 - 17 paintings; book 3 - 13 paintings; book 4 - 17 paintings; Total: 64”, while actually there are 66 of them.

Two spaces are left blank, where the miniatures with the following subjects were supposed to be entered:

f.146v – Farud battles Giv and f. 147r – Bizhan battles Farud.

The size and shape of paintings differ. Most of the miniatures are not big in size, of about one third of the page length, or even less (ff.54v, 345r, 393r), always within borders, rectangular, in most cases of stepped shape. However, 18 of them are quite large (ff.76r, 152v-311r, 553r), about a half of a page size or even bigger (ff.152v, 204r, 212r, 269r).

The average interval between miniatures is more or less constant: about 10 folios.

There were obviously at least two painters: one, with the distinct preferences to the court receptions indoors and outdoors and more or less small works; and another, whose palette was less bright pinky-orange-blue, than that of another one and whose paintings are bigger.

The first artist would prefer to depict most of the traditionally plain air and even battle or execution scenes as the indoors receptions. For example, under the title “Bahram Gur comes back from India” (Baz gashtan-i Bahram az Hind), one could expect to see the royal army on their victorious march, while it is a regular court reception with the king seated on his throne with the group of courtiers and warriors kneeling before him.

The murder of Iraj (f.31r) is also happening in the courtyard in front of the palace gates, with all other usual details preserved like the golden stool, the tool of the murder, which here has a shape of the European chair, made of a neat golden wire with embroided back. Salm is actively helping Tur, holding Iraj’s head in his hands, while Tur is striking his brother’s face with the chair; another courtier and warriors are curiously watching.

The execution of Siyavush (f.123v) is depicted in the very similar interior of the open courtyard. Afrasiyab, reclining on the big purple cushion, sits on his luxurious throne, which together with his dress and crown is richly decorated with pearls, rubies and emeralds. Siyavush is in orange long dress shaved-headed and black bearded, with his hands bound behind his back and having a golden bowl before him. There are two soldiers, executing him. One is holding his sword over his head, although another one has already cut off Siyavush’s throat, which is heavily bleeding.

The last painting in the manuscript, containing execution “Ardashir hangs Haftvad and his eldest son Shahuy” (f.393r), oddly combines the interior and exterior details: the main scene, displayed in the central right side, depicts Ardashir, reclining on the same purple cushion on the throne of the same design with blue back and pearls-rubies decoration, wearing the same dress and crown as all other kings in the book, surrounded by his courtiers. He points out with his finger two men, exhibited in a sort of a window, hung by their neck on the bar in the left part of the miniature.

Such intimate scene, like the moment of Tahmina’s delivery Rustam (f.54v) is shown as an open scene in the royal courtyard, near by the garden pavilion.

However the execution scenes are sacrificed in favour of simple receptions, like on f.62v, where instead of usual execution scene of killing Nouzar, there is the painting, called “Tus and Gustaham learn about the execution of Nauzar” (Agahi yaftan-i Tus-u Gustaham az kushta shudan-i Nouzar).

The painter uses a restricted number of clichés for his compositions, which seem to be deliberately constant. For example, 3 paintings in a row: ff. 13v, 20v and 37r are strikingly identical not only in their composition, number of figures, but in costumes of the personages, their colours and style, with some insignificant varying details.

However, the artist sometimes adds his own unique details in the paintings with the established iconography. Even the typical battle scenes and single combats have peculiar features, like a royal couple, where a lady is riding first, are indifferently passing by (f.134r) Giv and Piran fighting.

Exterior battle scenes of “classical” type tend to be symmetrical, like on f.289r – “Kay Khusrau battles Karun”, or f. 152v - Fariburz battles Piran, f.311r – “Gushtasp’s battle”, or f.212r – “Tus battles Fariburz” with the characteristic hill in the centre of the horizon, dividing the composition into two parts. This tendency can be traced even in not battle, but still exterior scenes, like on f.204r – “Rustam pulling Bizhan out of the well”, with the same blue hill in the centre of the foreground, supported by two pink hills and two groups of people, symmetrically displayed in the first plane.

Demonic creatures are not popular in the manuscript, there are only two miniatures, where the divs appear. It is on f.188v – “Div Akvan flings Rustam into the sea” and f.4r – “Siyamak battles the divs”. The “div scene number one”, having the first place in the list of Norgren-Davis-Mehran – “Rustam, killing the White div” is absent in the manuscript. However, divs, fighting with Siyamak and Akvan have their traditional demonic appearance: long tails, antropomorphic bodies and animal-like head with horns, as well as their usual costumes: short skirts, opening in front, and a lot of jewellery: bracelets, necklaces decorated with pearls and stones.

General Ref:
Arberry, A.J. A second supplementary hand-list of the Muhammadan manuscripts in the University and Colleges of Cambridge. Cambridge. UK.
Dating Ref:
Colophon Extracted from the colophon of the work.
Origin Ref:
Colophon Extracted from the colophon of the work.
Folio Ref:
Arberry, A.J. A second supplementary hand-list of the Muhammadan manuscripts in the University and Colleges of Cambridge. Cambridge. UK.
Illustration in archive - 68     (back to top)
sample page
f. 004r
The Div Khazarvan fights Siyamak (1800)
f. 013v
Faridun enthroned (1800)
f. 020v
f. 031r
The murder of Iraj (1800)
f. 037r
Faridun receives the severed head of Salm (1800)
f. 048r
Sam approaches Manuchihr (1800)
f. 054v
The birth of Rustam (1800)
f. 062v
Zal learns of the death of Nauzar (1800)
f. 071r
Rustam's second labour: he finds a spring and kills an onager (1800)
f. 076r
Rustam travels to Mazandaran with a message from Kay Kavus (1800)
f. 095v
Rustam mortally wounds Suhrab (1800)
f. 110r
Zanga goes to Afrasiyab (1800)
f. 123v
Guruy executes Siyavush (1800)
f. 134r
Giv captures Piran (1800)
f. 141v
Kay Khusrau reviews his troops (1800)
f. 146v
Farud shoots Giv's horse from under him (1800)
f. 147r
Farud shoots Bizhan's horse from under him (1800)
f. 152v
The Turanians defeat the Iranians (1800)
f. 170r
Rustam kills Ashkabus and his horse (1800)
f. 179v
Rustam pulls the Khaqan of Chin from his elephant by lasso (1800)
f. 188v
Akvan Div flings Rustam into the sea (1800)
f. 196r
Bizhan brought before Afrasiyab (1800)
f. 204r
Rustam rescues Bizhan from the pit (1800)
f. 212r
Scene from the Barzunama (1800)
f. 216v
Scene from the Barzunama (1800)
f. 226r
Scene from the Barzunama (1800)
f. 233v
Scene from the Barzunama (1800)
f. 241v
Scene from the Barzunama (1800)
f. 256r
Bizhan kills Human (1800)
f. 269r
Piran escapes from Gudarz up the mountainside (1800)
f. 279r
Kay Khusrau fights Shida (1800)
f. 289r
The war between the Iranians and the Turanians (1800)
f. 296v
Afrasiyab rises from the water as Garsivaz is tortured (1800)
f. 306v
The coronation of Luhrasp (1800)
f. 311r
Gushtasp kills a wolf in Rum (1800)
f. 321v
Garami son of Jamasp seizes the Iranian standard but is killed (1800)
f. 326r
Isfandiyar's first labour: he fights the wolves (1800)
f. 331r
Nush-Azar kills Tarkhan (1800)
f. 345r
Zavara and Faramarz kill Isfandiyar's sons Nush-Azar and Mihr-i Nush (1800)
f. 353v
Rustam kills Shaghad before dying (1800)
f. 364v
The third battle between the armies of Iskandar and Dara (1800)
f. 372r
Iskandar visits the Ka'ba (1800)
f. 380r
Iskandar encounters Israfil (1800)
f. 385r
Iskandar mourned (1800)
f. 393r
Ardashir hangs Haftvad and his eldest son Shahuy (1800)
f. 403r
Shapur Dhu'l Aktaf enthroned (1800)
f. 411v
Yazdagird the Sinner enthroned (1800)
f. 417r
Bahram Gur, Munzir and Nu'man receive a Persian delegation at Jahrum (1800)
f. 422r
The destruction and reconstruction of the village by Bahram Gur (1800)
f. 432v
Bahram Gur captures the Khaqan of Chin (1800)
f. 441v
Bahram Gur is hailed by the Iranians (1800)
f. 452v
Anushirvan enthroned (1800)
f. 459r
Anushirvan and Farfuryus fight (1800)
f. 466r
Aushirvan's third majlis for Buzurjmihr (1800)
f. 472r
Aushirvan learns about the Haytalians and goes to war against them (1800)
f. 480r
Buzurjmihr demonstrates how to play the game of chess (1800)
f. 488r
Buzurjmihr disgraced (1800)
f. 495r
Anushirvan besieges the Rumis in Aleppo (1800)
f. 506r
Bahram Chubina sends Sava Shah's head to Hurmuzd (1800)
f. 513r
Gurdiya advises her brother Bahram Chubina (1800)
f. 519v
Khusrau Parviz and Bahram Chubina dispute kingship rights (1799)
f. 525r
Bahram Chubina enthroned (1800)
f. 534r
Bahram Chubina kills Kut the Roman (1800)
f. 544v
The captive Qulun mortally wounds Bahram Chubina (1800)
f. 553r
Khusrau Parviz goes hunting (1800)
f. 558v
Khusrau Parviz learns about the rebellion of the army (1800)
f. 565v
Shirin commits suicide by the coffin of Khusrau Parviz (1800)
f. 574r
The miller assassinates Yazdagird (1800)