During a recent restoration, the name of John Murray inscribed twice was uncovered. The manuscript must therefore have been among the 205 Oriental manuscripts bought by the library from Sir J. MacGregor Murray in 1829. It received a new binding in the course of restoration.
The date (1784) contained in a colophon on f. 535v is not reliable because the paper, layout and writing differ here from the main part of the manuscript. It cannot be excluded, however, that the last folio was recopied from the original one. Written in a good but unpretentious nasta'liq the volume may well originate in the 18th century.
None of the intended illuminations and illustrations was executed at that time. Later, miniatures cut out of other manuscripts, mainly of Indian origin, but also, for instance, of Bukhara paintings from the second half of the 16th century and of Shiraz production from the early 17th century, were glued in. Often they have no connection with the text, cover part of the text, or are made up of parts from different pictures. Some large miniatures are inserted after a rotation of 90 degrees. Thus, the pictures do not form a cycle and, in most cases, cannot be analysed in connection with the episode they presume to illustrate. This creates particular difficulties in assigning titles to many of the paintings. Some of the Indian material from the 18th (?) century, however, is stylistically quite interesting.
The manuscript contains the Baysunghur preface, to which a list of the Iranian dynasties and kings up to the Sasanians was added. The epic, which starts on f. 12v, is divided into four parts, the start of the third one conforming to the beginning of the reign of Luhrasp.
Like a number of manuscripts in the library, this one too became a victim of Hermann Goetz, who cut out several leaves with illustrations, three of which were recovered later and placed at the end of the manuscript.
W. Pertsch, Die Handschriftenverzeichnisse der königlichen Bibliothek zu Berlin, 4: Verzeichnis der persischen Handschriften, Berlin, 1888, p. 736, no. 705.
I. Stchoukine, B. Flemming, P. Luft & H. Sohrweide, Illuminierte islamische Handschriften, Wiesbaden, 1971, pp. 186-9, no. 67.