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© Smithsonian Unrestricted Trust Funds, Smithsonian Collections and Acquisition Program, and Dr. Arthur M. Sackler
Accession Number:
Gregorian Date:
1560 (circa)
Art & History Collection
Folios extant in ms.:
Columns x Rows:
4 x 21
Page Size (h x w):
342 x 228 mm
Text Size (h x w):
220 x 130 mm
Sample Page Folio:
Ms Type:
Ms Status:
Completion Status:
Ready to upload to website
Illuminations in ms:
Illustrations in ms:
53 ( 2 frontispiece(s) 48 Shahnama 3 Barzunama )
Illustration Records in archive:
Last updated by:
Date last updated:
2008-05-28 11:15:21
Public Notes

A handsome copy of the Shahnama, from c. 1560, probably produced in Shiraz. The gilt-stamped morocco binding has a decorated flap and fine doublures.

The paper is creamy white and polished. The catchwords are in place.

Marginal rulings are in thin dark blue, space, two thin black, thick gold, thin black, green, dark purple, royal blue, two thin black with gold. The columns are 2 x two thin black with gold, and a wide intercolumnar space. The rubric boxes are also two thin black with gold. The headings are written in blue nasta'liq on a plain ground, with gold arabesques and tiny blue dots, very elegant. There are various other designs also.

The manuscript opens (after 3 blank flyleaves) on f. 1r with several seals (tughra), including some effaced, and later inscriptions. There is a double-illuminated title page on ff. 1v-2r, with the start of the Baysunghuri Preface.

The text of the Shahnama starts on f. 14v, following a double frontispiece showing an enthroned prince holding court (ff. 13v-14r). The ms. includes the Barzunama (ff. 226v-273r), following the episode of Bizhan and Manizha.

A. Soudavar, Art of the Persian courts, 1996, pp. 245-9, identifies the hand of three separate artists at work in the manuscript.

Preliminary investigation by Ch.M. (April 2006); further details recorded by L.W. (July 2006, July 2007), with thanks to Massumeh Farhad for all her assistance. 

General Ref:
Soudavar, A. Art at the Persian courts. (in Selection from the Art and History Trust Collection) Rizzoli. New York. USA.
Illustration in archive - 58     (back to top)
sample page
Binding (1560)
Doublure (1560)
f. 001v
Illuminated title page (verso side) (1560)
f. 002r
Illuminated title page (verso side) (1560)
f. 013v
Frontispiece (verso side) (1560)
f. 014r
Frontispiece (recto side) (1560)
f. 017v
The Div Khazarvan fights Siyamak (1560)
f. 019v
Jamshid teaches the crafts (1560)
f. 021v
Jamshid sawn in half before Zahhak (1560)
f. 024v
Kava carries his standard (1560)
f. 027r
Faridun defeats Zahhak (1560)
f. 028r
Faridun enthroned (1560)
f. 034r
The murder of Iraj (1560)
f. 055r
Zal displays his skills before Manuchihr (1560)
f. 056v
Zal marries Rudaba (1560)
f. 067v
Rustam pursues the Turanians (1560)
f. 074v
Rustam's third labour: he kills a dragon (1560)
f. 077r
Rustam's seventh labour: he kills the White Div (1560)
f. 080r
Rustam fights the Mazandarani champion Juya (1560)
f. 082v
Kay Kavus fights the King of Hamavaran (1560)
f. 097r
Rustam mortally wounds Suhrab (1560)
f. 102r
Siyavush in Sudaba's private quarters (1560)
f. 116r
Siyavush plays polo before Afrasiyab (1560)
f. 118v
Siyavush marries Farangis (1560)
f. 122v
Siyavush shows his skills before Garsivaz (1560)
f. 128r
Siyavush taken prisoner before Afrasiyab (1560)
f. 129v
Guruy executes Siyavush (1560)
f. 135r
Zavara executes Surkha to avenge Siyavush (1560)
f. 137r
Human attacks Rustam to allow Afrasiyab to escape (1560)
f. 142r
Giv captures Piran (1560)
f. 157r
Farud retreats to his fortress and is mortally wounded by Ruhham (1560)
f. 166r
Giv kills Tahzav in revenge for the death of Bahram (1560)
f. 182r
Rustam kills Ashkabus and his horse (1560)
f. 192v
Rustam pulls the Khaqan of Chin from his elephant by lasso (1560)
f. 203r
Rustam returns to Sistan (1560)
f. 205r
Akvan Div flings Rustam into the sea (1560)
f. 213v
Bizhan is brought to the pit (1560)
f. 223r
Bizhan and Rustam after the rescue from the pit (1560)
f. 237r
Scene from the Barzunama (1560)
f. 240v
Scene from the Barzunama (1560)
f. 264v
Scene from the Barzunama (1560)
f. 283r
Bizhan kills Human (1560)
f. 297r
Gudarz mourns the dead Piran (1560)
f. 309r
Kay Khusrau kills Shida (1560)
f. 320v
Kay Khusrau enthroned celebrates his victory over Afrasiyab (1560)
f. 329r
The execution of Garsivaz (1560)
f. 348v
Gushtasp kills a wolf in Rum (1560)
f. 351v
Gushtasp plays polo before Caesar (1560)
f. 374v
Isfandiyar's third labour: he fights the dragon (1560)
f. 408v
Rustam shoots Isfandiyar in the eyes with a double-pointed arrow (1560)
f. 418v
Rustam kills Shaghad before dying (1560)
f. 429r
Darab fights against Faylakus and marries his daughter (1560)
f. 435v
Iskandar executes Dara's murderers (1560)
f. 502r
Bahram Gur enthroned after killing the lions (1560)
f. 570r
The battle between the armies of Chin and Haytal (1560)
f. 582v
Buzurjmihr shows the Indian how to play backgammon (1560)
f. 588r
Gav and Talhand's forces fight for a second time (1560)
f. 638v
Bahram Chubina's night attack on the camp of Khusrau Parviz (1560)