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Lewis O. 58
Philadelphia, Free Library of Philadelphia (in index)
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© Rare Book Department, Free Library of Philadelphia
Accession Number:
Lewis O. 58
Gregorian Date:
19th century (first Half)
Qajar Iran
Folios extant in ms.:
Estimated num folios in ms.:
Columns x Rows:
4 x 25
Page Size (h x w):
433 x 280 mm
Text Size (h x w):
313 x 198 mm
Colophon Folio:
Sample Page Folio:
Ms Type:
Ms Status:
Completion Status:
Ready to upload to website
Illuminations in ms:
Illustrations in ms:
121 ( 121 Shahnama )
Illustration Records in archive:
Last updated by:
Date last updated:
2009-01-26 14:39
Public Notes

The investigation of this interesting early Qajar ms. is not complete; a preliminary inspection was made by Ch.M. in June 2006. A proper recording of the manuscript must await pagination of the text.

The binding is of thick black leather, and a shiney black leather spine, without inscription; dimensions 447 x 280 mm. The doublures are of plain brown leather. On the flysheet are notes, presumably those of Simsar, mentioning however 118 miniatures, not 119, and about 600 chapter headings (rubrics). These are written in crimson red on a lozenge of plain gold, against a field of multi-coloured floral decorations of different designs.

The text block is ruled in a margin of thick gold, space, thin gold and the columns of two thin lines with the intervening space left empty.

Simsar's brief account of the codex (pp. 90-91) describes the paper as 'of strong texture with a cafe au lait tinge and slight sheen'. The paper is very thin, and has been repaired along almost all of the outside edges.

The text is in two volumes bound as one, with an illuminated title-page at the start of daftar 2 (fol. 271r).

There is no preface, but f. 1v contains part of the list of kings. The poem starts on f. 2v, on a heavily illuminated carpet page.

Simsar notes that Fath-'Ali Shah Qajar is taken as the facial model for the heroes of the paintings; the colophon has been almost completely erased, but appears to record a royal or princely commission.

The manuscript is heavily illustrated, including the whole sequence of the combats of the eleven champions (yazdah rukh) . The working images currently available were taken by Ch.M. on 8 June 2006. The folio number assigned is simply to organise the existing images in the correct order.

Deep thanks to Bill Lang for his interest and encouragement and his support for the project.

Project Notes
Still to update notes from second and more substantial examination of the ms. in Nov. 2008. According to this, the fols. should no. 538, and the paintings 121. Also to check the no. of pictures: only 107 added - have I missed some? Yes - still to be uploaded.

Images locked. Will update the new photos when they are unlocked. Bilha

Image of fol. 57r locked. Image entered for 95r. Better images entered for folios: 148r, 179v, 267v, 316r, 322r, 375v, 395v, 435v, 484v, 487r, 499r, 500r, 511v.

Dimentions entered for the first 36 illustration, until fol. 190v. Fols. still locked: 45v, 57r, 57v, 76r, 90r, 124r. BM

Dating Ref:
Simsar, M.A. Oriental manuscripts of the John Frederick Lewis Collection in the Free Library of Philadelphia: a descriptive catalogue. Philadelphia. USA.
Illustration Ref:
Simsar, M.A. Oriental manuscripts of the John Frederick Lewis Collection in the Free Library of Philadelphia: a descriptive catalogue. Philadelphia. USA.
Illustration in archive - 123     (back to top)
sample page
f. 002v
Illuminated title page (verso side)
f. 003r
Illuminated title page (recto side)
f. 019v
The murder of Iraj
f. 023v
Manuchihr kills Tur in battle
f. 027r
The birth of Zal
f. 042r
Zal displays his skills before Manuchihr
f. 045v
Rustam kills Zal's white elephant
f. 052r
Afrasiyab executes Nauzar
f. 055v
Rustam kills Qulun
f. 057r
Rustam lifts Afrasiyab by the belt
f. 057v
Rustam lifts Afrasiyab by the belt
f. 073v
Rustam pulls the King of Sham from his saddle by lasso
f. 076r
Rustam and the Iranians hunt in Afrasiyab's preserves
f. 077v
Rustam fights the Turanians
f. 085r
Suhrab and Human survey the Iranian army
f. 090r
Rustam mortally wounds Suhrab
f. 095r
Siyavush visits Sudaba's quarters a second time
f. 098r
The fire ordeal of Siyavush
f. 107r
Siyavush plays polo before Afrasiyab
f. 122r
Faramarz captures Surkha, son of Afrasiyab
f. 124r
Rustam confronts the army of Afrasiyab
f. 127v
Human attacks Rustam to allow Afrasiyab to escape
f. 128r
The Turanians flee from Rustam
f. 132r
Giv captures Piran
f. 138r
Kay Khusrau pledges vengeance against Afrasiyab
f. 144r
Farud kills Zarasp
f. 146v
The death of Farud
f. 148r
Bizhan kills Palashan
f. 154r
Bahram defies Ruyin and the Turanian forces
f. 156r
Kay Khusrau reproaches Tus for his actions
f. 169v
Rustam kills Ashkabus and his horse
f. 174r
Rustam and Piran parley
f. 179v
Rustam pulls the Khaqan of Chin from his elephant by lasso
f. 180r
The defeat of the Turanian army
f. 185r
Afrasiyab learns of Rustam's arrival
f. 188r
Afrasiyab flees from Rustam
f. 190v
Rustam fights a sea monster
f. 195v
Bizhan brought before Afrasiyab
f. 201v
Rustam feasts with Kay Khusrau
f. 205r
Rustam returns to Iran
f. 205v
Rustam and Bizhan carry out a raid on Afrasiyab's palace
f. 215v
Bizhan kills Human
f. 217r
Nastihan makes a night attack and is killed by Bizhan
f. 227r
The first combat: Fariburz kills Gulbad
f. 227v
The second combat: Giv fights Guruy Zirih
f. 228r
The fourth combat: Furuhil fights Zangala
f. 228v
The fifth combat: Ruhham fights Barman
f. 229r
The sixth combat: Bizhan kills Ruyin
f. 229v
The seventh combat: Hujir kills Sipahram with a blow of his sword
f. 230r
The eighth combat: Zanga kills Akhvasht
f. 230v
The ninth combat: Gurgin kills Andariman
f. 231r
The tenth combat: Barta kills Kuhram
f. 231v
The eleventh combat: Gudarz kills Piran
f. 235r
Gustaham kills Farshidvard
f. 235v
Gustaham pursues Lahhak and Farshidvard
f. 246v
Burzi-aila flees from Kay Khusrau
f. 248v
Kay Khusrau fights Afrasiyab again
f. 253r
Rustam takes Jahn and Garsivaz prisoner
f. 260r
Kay Khusrau crosses Lake Zara
f. 263v
Hum captures Afrasiyab
f. 265r
The execution of Afrasiyab
f. 267v
Kay Khusrau grants an audience to Rustam and Zal
f. 271v
Kay Khusrau says a final farewell to his loyal comanders
f. 272r
Kay Khusrau's champions lost in the snow
f. 273v
Illuminated unvan
f. 276r
Gushtasp seeks work in Rum with the smith Burab
f. 278v
Gushtasp kills a wolf in Rum
f. 280v
Gushtasp kills a dragon in Rum
f. 290r
Isfandiyar's father summons him
f. 297r
Isfandiyar lassoes the Turanian hero Gurgsar
f. 299r
Isfandiyar's first labour: he fights the wolves
f. 299v
Isfandiyar's second labour: he fights the lions
f. 300v
Isfandiyar's third labour: he fights the dragon
f. 304r
Isfandiyar disguised as a merchant before Arjasp
f. 306v
The battle between the forces of Isfandiyar and Kuhram
f. 311v
Rustam kicks aside the rock pushed by Bahman
f. 316r
Rustam boasts about his strength
f. 318r
Isfandiyar discusses the coming conflict with Rustam with his brother Pashutan
f. 320v
Rustam and Rakhsh wounded by the arrows of Isfandiyar
f. 322r
Zal summons the Simurgh to restore Rakhsh and Rustam to health
f. 324r
Rustam shoots Isfandiyar in the eyes with a double-pointed arrow
f. 329r
Rustam kills Shaghad before dying
f. 333v
Darab questions the launderer's wife about his parents
f. 334v
Rashnavad finds Darab asleep by a ruined castle
f. 336r
Humay bequeaths the throne to Darab
f. 339r
Iskandar with Dara
f. 340r
The second battle of Iskandar against Dara
f. 342r
Iskandar attends the dying Dara
f. 348r
Iskandar kills Fur
f. 354r
Iskandar sees the wonders of the city of Hurum
f. 355r
Iskandar encounters Israfil
f. 356v
Iskandar and the talking tree
f. 358v
Approaching Babylon Iskandar meets Gushbistar
f. 363r
Ardashir hunts with Ardavan's sons
f. 365v
Ardashir and Ardavan fight
f. 367r
Ardashir pours molten lead down the worm's throat
f. 370v
Hurmuzd before Shapur during a polo game
f. 375v
The battle between the armies of Shapur and Rum
f. 388r
Bahram Gur hunts in the company of Azada
f. 395v
Bahram Gur and Mihr Bandad
f. 398v
f. 399v
Bahram Gur kills the dragon that had killed a youth
f. 420v
Khushnavaz flees from Sufaray
f. 431r
Nushzad killed in battle with Ram Barzin
f. 435v
Anushirvan's seventh majlis for Buzurjmihr
f. 437r
The battle between the armies of Chin and Haytal
f. 441v
Anushirvan receives the Khaqan's daughter
f. 454v
Hurmuzd enthroned
f. 463r
Bahram Chubina defeats the army of Sava Shah
f. 473r
Ayin Gushtasp is murdered
f. 477v
Khusrau Parviz and Bahram Chubina dispute kingship rights
f. 481r
Bahram Chubina's night attack on the camp of Khusrau Parviz
f. 484v
Bahram Chubina enthroned
f. 487r
Khusrau Parviz hears from the monk again
f. 493r
Bahram Chubina kills Kut the Roman
f. 499r
Bahram Chubina kills Maqatura
f. 500r
Bahram Chubina kills the monkey-lion
f. 503r
The captive Qulun mortally wounds Bahram Chubina
f. 507v
Gurdiya is given a warm reception by Khusrau Parviz
f. 511v
Shirin greets Khusrau Parviz on his way to the hunt
f. 526v
Fara'in is killed by Shahran Guraz
f. 530v
Sa'd-i Vaqqas kills Rustam
f. 533v
Ardashir fights the Kurds