The ms. is presented in handsome lacquer binding, with very ornate floral covers ( x ) and a rust-red leather spine with three bands for the stitching. The doublures are similar, of a lacquer floral design, with neat borders. The whole volume is preserved in a handsome, solid leather case.
The ms. has numerous worm holes, penetrating right to the centre of the book.The paper is thick, strong and heavily burnished and otherwise in good condition.
The decorative layout of the page is set by an outer ruled margin of two thin black lines with gold. The text block is ruled with navy blue, space, tomato red, space, two thin black with gold, thick gold, space, two thin black with gold. The columns are also two thin black lines with gold, with the central space infilled with a recurring ascending floral motif in red ink of a stem and single red leaf, infilled with gold. The rubrics are ruled with two thin black lines with gold.
The rubric script is in navy blue ink, mainly nasta'liq with some shikasta elements. The catchwords are generally present in the space between the outer and inner marginal rulings. Instructions for the scribe for the rubrics are frequently partly visible (but generally illegible), preserved when the ms. was incompletely trimmed. The rubrics are written in a less attractive hand than the main text. The language of the rubrics is frequently bizarre and grammatically incorrect, with the misuse of the definite-marker -ra particularly striking.
Fol. 1r is blank; the poem starts (without a preface) on f. 1v, on an elaborately illuminated double opening page of a predominantly floral and very colourful design (ff. 1v-2r). The heading in a gold panel above the text reads: Aghaz-i dastan-i daftar-i avval-i shahnama.
The text contains several examples of chalipa (diagonal) script, frequently before pictures (e.g. f. 4v before the painting of Kayumars enthroned), but also independently (e.g. ff. 117r-v); a very elaborately and colourfully decorated page of chalipa script is found on f. 134r. Another decorative feature is a marginal addition on f. 151r, contained within a red floral spray, thus turning what might have been a visually disturbing error (the omitted line) into an aesthetic pleasure.
The text is divided into four daftars, the first ends on f. 154v; the second starts on f. 155v, with the reign of Kay Khusrau and ends on f. 304v. The third starts of 305v with the reign of Luhrasp and ends on f. 459v. The final daftar starts on f. 460v with the story of Anushirvan and continues to the end of the book. The last three daftars are each preceded by a blank page and start under a richly illuminated 'unvan. The verso of the final folio, 578, is ruled.
There is at least one space left blank for a painting that was not executed (f. 378).