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Ms. or. fol. 189
Berlin, Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin (in index)
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© Berlin, Staatsbibliotheek zu Berlin - Preussischer Kulturbesitz - Orientabteilung
Accession Number:
Ms. or. fol. 189
Hijri Date:
Gregorian Date:
1784 (to nearest hijri year)
Sub Imperial Mughal
Name of 'John Murray' stands on a leaf now at the back of the book.
Folios extant in ms.:
Columns x Rows:
4 x 25
Page Size (h x w):
295 x 170 mm
Text Size (h x w):
207 x 115 mm
Colophon Folio:
Sample Page Folio:
Ms Type:
Ms Status:
Completion Status:
Ready to upload to website
Illuminations in ms:
Illustrations in ms:
36 ( 31 Shahnama 5 other )
Illustration Records in archive:
Last updated by:
Date last updated:
2013-08-23 23:22
Public Notes
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.

(Karin Ruhrdanz)


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.

Project Notes
Available in digital form.
Dating Ref:
Colophon Extracted from the colophon of the work.
Origin Ref:
Canby, S.R. Personal communication.
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 - 39     (back to top)
sample page
f. 011v
Miscellaneous preliminary material (1784)
f. 012r
Frontispiece (recto side)
f. 046r
Sam before Manuchihr
f. 057r
Afrasiyab comes to the land of Iran (1784)
f. 081v
Scene from another epic (1784)
f. 085r
Suhrab fights Hujir
f. 111r
Siyavush shows his skills before Garsivaz
f. 115r
Siyavush and his troops are defeated by the forces of Afrasiyab (1785)
f. 124r
Giv finds Kay Khusrau in Turan
f. 131r
Kay Khusrau praised by the elders (1784)
f. 145r
Miscellaneous preliminary material (1784)
f. 166r
Rustam lifts Shangul from his saddle (1784)
f. 168v
Rustam divides the booty (1784)
f. 175v
f. 186r
Rustam feasts with Kay Khusrau (1784)
f. 239r
The Iranians repel Afrasiyab's night attack (1784)
f. 247r
The coronation of Luhrasp (1784)
f. 263vA
f. 263vB
f. 263vC
f. 263vD
f. 268v
Gushtasp received in Sistan by Zal and Rustam (1784)
f. 283r
Gushtasp receives Isfandiyar on his return from the Haft Khvan (1784)
f. 301v
Rustam and Isfandiyar fight again (1784)
f. 308v
Rustam kills Shaghad before dying (1784)
f. 313r
Bahman fights Faramarz (1784)
f. 340r
Iskandar writes to Aristotle and receives a reply (1784)
f. 389r
Bahram Gur kills the dragon that had killed a youth (1784)
f. 391v
f. 402v
Bahram Gur bequeaths his kingdom to Yazdagird (1784)
f. 403r
Bahram Gur bequeaths his kingdom to Yazdagird (1784)
f. 409r
Razmihr helps Qubad escape to the Haytaliyan (1784)
f. 424r
Buzurjmihr explains to Anushirvan what is kardar-u guftar-i nik (1784)
f. 448r
Buzurjmihr disgraced (1784)
f. 476r
Khusrau Parviz enthroned (1784)
f. 483r
Khusrau Parviz goes to Rum (1784)
f. 535v
f. 535v
f. 535v