The Shahnama (Book of kings) by Firdausi (d. 1020)

citation

Manuscript; Shahnama (Book of kings) by Firdawsi; Persian in black nasta’liq script; headings in white; 540 folios with illuminated double frontispiece (fols. 1 verso, 2 recto, and 2 verso, 3 recto), 2 sarlawh (fols. 3, 9 verso), 30 paintings, 1 dated colophon (folio 539 recto), and a finispiece (fols. 539 verso, 540 recto); seals (folio 1recto); inscription (folio 1 recto); standard page: 4 columns, 22 lines of text.
Binding: The manuscript is bound in red-brown leather over paper pasteboards with blind tooling and a border of geometric motifs. The doublures are of marbled paper with a James Caulfield Coat of Arms.

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Historical period(s)
early 17th century
Medium
Ink, opaque watercolor and gold on paper
Dimensions
H x W (overall): 38.1 x 21.2 cm (15 x 8 3/8 in)
Geography
Iran
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Accession Number
F1907.279
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Manuscript
Type

Manuscript

Keywords
colophon, finispiece, frontispiece, illumination, Iran, nasta'liq script, percussion instrument, sarlawh, Shahnama
Provenance

To 1907
Colonel Henry Bathurst Hanna (1839-1914), London, to 1907 [1]

From 1907 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from Colonel Henry Bathurst Hanna in 1907 [2]

From 1920
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer in 1920 [3]

Notes:

[1] See Original List of Persian Miniatures and Manuscripts, pg. 95, and Miscellaneous section of Inventory, S.I. 1591, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives.

[2] See note 1.

[3] The original deed of Charles Lang Freer's gift was signed in 1906. The collection was received in 1920 upon the completion of the Freer Gallery.

Previous Owner(s)

Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919
Colonel Henry Bathurst Hanna (C.L. Freer source) 1839 - 1914

Description

Manuscript; Shahnama (Book of kings) by Firdawsi; Persian in black nasta'liq script; headings in white; 540 folios with illuminated double frontispiece (fols. 1 verso, 2 recto, and 2 verso, 3 recto), 2 sarlawh (fols. 3, 9 verso), 30 paintings, 1 dated colophon (folio 539 recto), and a finispiece (fols. 539 verso, 540 recto); seals (folio 1recto); inscription (folio 1 recto); standard page: 4 columns, 22 lines of text.
Binding: The manuscript is bound in red-brown leather over paper pasteboards with blind tooling and a border of geometric motifs. The doublures are of marbled paper with a James Caulfield Coat of Arms.

Inscription(s)

Folio 1 recto: uragh panjhezar va si va nuh [?] musavvar si va se, chand ruz be 'ariyat bamast.
"Number of pages five thousand and thirty-nine [?] paintings thirty-three, it is borrowed for a few days."
Shahnama-i musavvar pishkesh Mirza Shah Sahib Adilshah rozi ke Nawab Suleyman be manzel Amir Muhammad Mo'men rafte bodand nemudand. Betarikh dovum Shahr Shaval sene [1?17].
"Illustrated Shahnama, gift of Mirza Shah Sahib Adilshah, the day when Nawab Suleyman went to the house of Amir Muhammad Mo'men; 2, Shaval [1?17]."
Seal of Sultan Muhammad Gotb Shah.

Colophon 539 recto: Tamat al-ketab-i Shahnama Hakim Ferdowsi be tarikh [?] shahr Sha'ban sene [?].
"The book of Shahnama by Hakin Ferdowsi was finished in the month of Sha'ban sene [?].

Published References
  • Richard Ettinghausen Grace Dunham Guest. The Iconography of a Kashan Luster Plate. vol. 4 Washington and Ann Arbor. pl. 19, fig. 63.
  • Richard Ettinghausen. Islamic Art and Archaeology: Collected Papers. Berlin. pp. 579-641.
  • Barbara Schmitz. Islamic Manuscripts in the New York Public Library. New York. p. 99.
Collection Area(s)
Arts of the Islamic World
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
Rights Statement

Copyright with museum