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.