A manuscript of large dimensions and a handsome volume in indifferent binding, boards within faded and torn green cloth, with damaged flap. Inner covers of marbled paper.
The first 70 ff. are of some still unidentified verse epic (possibly a Narimannama) in the Sistan cycle, beginning abruptly in mid poem; the Shahnama then follows on a further 529 folios, numbered consecutively in Roman numerals (followed here), and starting again from 1v in Arabic numerals.
The calligraphy and paper are of excellent quality; the text is within a jadval ruled with red, gold and blue lines, columns ruled in gold. New text has been supplied on ff. 263-6 and 338-43, perhaps to replace damaged or missing pages. There is some further disorder in the ms., yet to be investigated: two illustrated folios at least are out of order, one in the reign of Anushirvan (f. 507v), and one more spectacularly near the end of the ms. (f. 577v). The final painting, too, appears to relate to a scene from one of the epics contained at the start of the volume (see above).
As noted, the Shahnama starts without any preface, on f. 71v, incip. normative, under a nice 'unvan. Thereafter, text headings are in blue and red ink, but many are missing, especially before illustrations.
Most illustrated pages are heralded by a folio of diagonal script (chalipa), which sometimes comes after painting also. One peculiarity of the text is that the margins contain several notes, words and comments, by way of explaining the meaning of the text.
The ms. contains 41 miniatures, 7 of which illustrate the opening epic(s). The main medium is opaque watercolour; a lot of gold is used too. On the whole, the choice of scenes is normative, most of them being popular subjects; there is one unique scene, of Anushirvan's debate with Mazdak (f. 466r). The placement of the paintings is close to the relevant verses, and the text itself is generally close to the standard editions.
There is no colophon; the text ends with verse: har an kas kih darad...// pas az marg bar man kunad afrarin
Various stylistic markers should help idenitfy and date the ms. - which contains superb paintings of horses, and at least two different styles or artists. (Ch.M.).