The volume is bound in plain tan leather covers, with a central medallion and three pendants and corner pieces, all with very faint tooling and linear grooving round the edges. Plain leather spine, doublures also plain tan leather. The doublure at the back of the volume (i.e. as if a European book) contains a bookplate Stanislas C.O. Zamoyski, 1804. Appears to be from a sale catalogue. The volume was originally numbered on every page from left to right as if a European book, including flyleaves: the initial flyleaf is numbered 966 (thus 483 folios including 2 flyleaves).
There is no prose Preface. Fol. 1r has an inscription, cut by trimming, and a couple of effaced or faint seals. The poem starts of fol. 1v under a small and rather inelegant ‘unvan; incipit normative.
Paper heavily discoloured and worn at bottom left of the recto side where the pages have been often turned. Brownish and polished, but faded and creased through use. Quite thin with rather irregular lay lines. Extensively repaired round the edges, especially at the start of the volume. The catchwords are mainly in place.
Margins are ruled in black, space, orange, space, 2 thin black, thick gold, thin black. Columns are two x 2 thin black with gold. Rubrics are in boxes of 2 thin black with gold round a plain ground, headings in tomato red nasta‘liq. Rubrics are generally used sparingly and usually take up just the space of one bait.
The text has been slightly disturbed, at some time before the European page numbering; the correct order [still not completely established] is ff. 1-160, 163-180, 161-162, [lacuna], 181-230, [lacuna], 231-350, [lacuna?], 358, 352, 357, 351, 359-end. The catchword on f. 460v is followed by the intended verse as a scribal addition on the top of f. 461r.
There seem to be lacunae between ff. 162v and 181r, and 230v and 231r; in the latter case, traces of pigment on f. 230v suggest that there was a painting on the original 231r.
The manuscript currently contains 26 paintings of different formats, some rectangular and contained within the text block, others stepped and projecting into the margins. There is often a space left blank for the last bait before (and after) the picture space, usually not filled by the artist, e.g. on ff. 54v, 63v, 86v, 157r, 162r, 224r. The paintings are generally quite rubbed and have sustained some damage; there is also a lot of corrosion of the green pigments and flaking of white pigments on the faces, e.g. especially on ff. 122v, 131r, 157r, 160r, 162r. Some of the painting is rather crude, although there are nice details, such as the interior decorations on ff. 122v and 131r. The interpretation of scenes can be rather unusual and removed from the traditional iconography, e.g. f. 46r (Rustam lifts Afrasiyab from the saddle), 161r (the death of Khaqan-i Chin), 200v (Gudarz and Piran), 281v (Rustam shoots Isfandiyar). There is a splendid painting of Iskandar marvelling at the monsters in the sea (f. 309r).
The illustrations are all concentrated in the first three-quarters of the text, up to the death of Iskandar (f. 316r). There are no pictures of the Sasanian section, unless some have fallen out in any of the lacunae noted above; in the final part of the volume, the paper is generally cleaner and crisper, as one would expect, from lack of wear. There tend occasionally also to be more rubrics, perhaps compensating for the absence of illustrations.