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Ms. or. fol. 172
 
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Berlin, Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin (in index)
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© Berlin, Staatsbibliotheek zu Berlin - Preussischer Kulturbesitz - Orientabteilung
Details
Accession Number:
Ms. or. fol. 172
Gregorian Date:
17th century
Origin:
India
Folios extant in ms.:
684
Columns x Rows:
4 x 22
Page Size (h x w):
295 x 165 mm
Text Size (h x w):
188 x 98 mm
Script:
Nasta'liq
Sample Page Folio:
308r
Ms Type:
Codex
Ms Status:
Complete
Completion Status:
Ready to upload to website
Illuminations in ms:
4
Illustrations in ms:
17 ( 16 Shahnama 1 Garshaspnama )
Illustration Records in archive:
Last updated by:
charles
Date last updated:
2007-05-05 00:00:00
 
Public Notes
This manuscript entered the library rather early but nothing is known about the particular circumstances of its acquisition. It has a European binding. The text is written in fine nasta'liq and provided with illuminations of high quality. They include a heading on f. 1v, an octagon with pendants and a frame of golden cartouches on f. 15r, another framed page with a medallion on f. 370r, and two double-page frontispieces, one for the start of the poem (ff. 15v-16r) and one for the beginning of the reign of Luhrasp (ff. 370v-371r), all showing strong affinities with Khurasan models.

Dominated by blue and gold, the frontispiece decoration is divided into a central area surrounded by panels and a small inner border (with black cartouches), and a straight wider outer border, this one decorated with heavy split-leaf tendrils filled with flower scrolls. In other areas of the frontispiece, elegant flowering tendrils are set against the ground. The unconnected juxtaposition of geometric shapes including upright cartouches in the horizontal panels looks strange. The octagon (f. 15r) too has a very unusual structure accentuating square shapes, and placing two cartouches forming a cross in the centre. In general, common elements of Khurasan illumination are several times combined in a new way.

The manuscript starts with the 'old' preface, followed by an illuminated table of the Iranian dynasties, mentioning for each king the length of his reign, his most important deeds etc., and finally a glossary of names and obsolete words.

The epic is divided into two parts, the second of which starts with the reign of Luhrasp.

There are 17 illustrations, very unevenly distributed throughout the text, privileging not only the legendary part but also leaving about three hundred folios unillustrated between the early heroic deeds of Rustam and the beginning of the story of Isfandiyar. Among the pictures is just one battle scene (a single combat, f. 398r). It seems, however, that this is not the original cycle. There are pages (ff. 286-290) from the Barzunama, at least some leaves that were added later (ff. 90-93) and pages with diagonally written lines not followed by miniatures. A detailed examination of the manuscript is needed to determine the original parts and identify possible losses.

Stylistically, the miniatures belong to two groups. According to Stchoukine, the first represents Mughal painting of the Jahangir period (1605-28), and the second an 18th-century provincial version of the Mughal style.

(Karin Ruhrdanz)

Bibliography:

W. Pertsch, Die Handschriftenverzeichnisse der königlichen Bibliothek zu Berlin, 4: Verzeichnis der persischen Handschriften, Berlin, 1888, pp. 732-4, no. 702.

I. Stchoukine, B. Flemming, P. Luft & H. Sohrweide, Illuminierte islamische Handschriften, Wiesbaden, 1971, pp. 164-6, no. 63.

 
References
Dating Ref:
Stchoukine, I. et al. Illuminierte Islamische Handschriften. (in Orientalische Handschriften in Deutschland) 16 (1971) Franz Steiner Verlag GMBH. Wiesbaden. Germany.
Origin Ref:
Stchoukine, I. et al. Illuminierte Islamische Handschriften. (in Orientalische Handschriften in Deutschland) 16 (1971) Franz Steiner Verlag GMBH. Wiesbaden. Germany.
Illustration Ref:
Stchoukine, I. et al. Illuminierte Islamische Handschriften. (in Orientalische Handschriften in Deutschland) 16 (1971) Franz Steiner Verlag GMBH. Wiesbaden. Germany.
 
 
Illustration in archive - 17     (back to top)
308r
sample page
f. 007v
Firdausi and the poets of Ghazna
f. 019v
Kayumars enthroned
f. 024r
Zahhak consults physicians
f. 026r
Scene from the Garshaspnama
f. 071r
Rustam kills Zal's white elephant
f. 082v
Rustam catches Rakhsh
f. 390v
Isfandiyar's second labour: he fights the lions
f. 398r
Isfandiyar throws Kuhram from his saddle
f. 416v
Rustam shoots Isfandiyar in the eyes with a double-pointed arrow
f. 423r
Rustam kills Shaghad before dying
f. 448r
Iskandar visits Qaydafa disguised as a messenger
f. 452r
Iskandar sees the marvels of the eastern sea
f. 456v
Iskandar builds a wall against Gog and Magog
f. 493v
Bahram Gur hunts in the company of Azada
f. 499v
Bahram Gur fights two lions to win the throne
f. 508r
Bahram Gur and the miller's daughters
f. 657r
Shirin greets Khusrau Parviz returning from the hunt