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Lewis O. 53
Philadelphia, Free Library of Philadelphia (in index)
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© Rare Book Department, Free Library of Philadelphia
Accession Number:
Lewis O. 53
Hijri Date:
1000 Jumada I
Gregorian Date:
1592 February (to nearest hijri month)
Muhammad b. Shaikh 'Aqil al-Sharif al-Qummi
Folios extant in ms.:
Columns x Rows:
4 x 33
Page Size (h x w):
350 x 216 mm
Text Size (h x w):
278 x 138 mm
Colophon Folio:
Sample Page Folio:
Ms Type:
Ms Status:
Completion Status:
Ready to upload to website
Illuminations in ms:
Illustrations in ms:
21 ( 21 Shahnama )
Illustration Records in archive:
Last updated by:
Date last updated:
2009-01-12 15:07
Public Notes
The codex is bound in a modern Persian black leather binding with blind-pressed floral designs in gilt and colours. The outer cover has a large medallion with two pendants above and below, and matching corner angles; the outside of the flap has a similar design. The doublures are of red leather, with an elongated gold medallion, pendants and corner angles, cut out and embellished with filigree work over a green background (Simsar; see fig. facing p. 82).

The ms. was paginated by Ch. Melville, November 2008, leading to some corrections of the pagination given by Simsar, especially for paintings nos. 15-18 (one too high). There is no Preface. The poem starts on f. 1v under an unvan. Some folios are missing (cut out) between f. 2 and 3.The early folios have been remargined. Most of the rubrics are left out in the final parts of the book, which has clearly been left unfinished, see e.g. ff. 277v-278r. A space for a painting is left blank, on f. 321r. Some of the folios seem to be disturbed; the catchwords often do not match, and are usually absent anyway.

The paper is glazed, with an ivory finish, and quite thick. Rubrics are in gold, red or blue, as are the marginal rulings.

Simsar describes the 21 miniature paintings as being of high quality, in the style of Riza 'Abbasi. The pictures are clearly the work of different artists.

The colophon is hard to decipher; a small part has been erased, and the year after 1000 is missing, so that the date given is a terminus post quem.

See the catalogue by Simsar, pp. 82-3.

Project Notes
New images entered for folios: 41r, 202r, 247r. Bilha
General Ref:
Norgren, J. & Davis, E. Preliminary index of Shah-nameh illustrations. University of Michigan. Ann Arbor. USA.
Dating Ref:
Colophon Extracted from the colophon of the work.
Illustration Ref:
Simsar, M.A. Oriental manuscripts of the John Frederick Lewis Collection in the Free Library of Philadelphia: a descriptive catalogue. Philadelphia. USA.
Illustration in archive - 32     (back to top)
sample page
Binding (1592)
Doublure (1592)
f. 001r
Seals of ownership or library marks (1592)
f. 001v
Illuminated unvan (1592)
f. 008r
The King of Yemen receives Faridun's sons (1592)
f. 015v
Zal meets Mihrab of Kabul (1592)
f. 022v
Sam receives Sindukht as envoy from the King of Kabul (1592)
f. 039r
Rustam's third labour: he kills a dragon (1592)
f. 041r
Rustam's seventh labour: he kills the White Div (1592)
f. 047r
Kay Kavus airborne (1592)
f. 058r
Rustam discovers Suhrab's identity (1592)
f. 063v
Kay Kavus investigates the claim of the stillborn children (1592)
f. 092v
Farud kills Rivniz (1592)
f. 109v
Rustam kills Ashkabus and his horse (1592)
f. 121v
Rustam overthrows Puladvand (1592)
f. 142v
Bizhan kills Human (1592)
f. 161v
Kay Khusrau kills Shida (1592)
f. 175r
The execution of Afrasiyab (1592)
f. 202r
Isfandiyar's third labour: he fights the dragon (1592)
f. 228v
Darab questions the launderer's wife about his parents (1592)
f. 241r
In Babylon Iskandar sees the stillborn baby, omen of his death (1592)
f. 247r
Haftvad's daughter spinning in the garden (1592)
f. 289v
f. 289v
Shapur leads Sufaray before Qubad (1592)
f. 304r
Anushirvan executes Zarvan and the Jew (1592)
f. 308v
Anushirvan receives the Khaqan's daughter (1592)
f. 321r
Talhand dies on the back of his elephant during the battle (1592)