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Pers. c. 4
Oxford, Bodleian Library (in index)
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© The Bodleian Library, Oxford
Accession Number:
Pers. c. 4
Hijri Date:
852 Sha'ban 4
Gregorian Date:
1448 October 11
Provincial (southern ?)
Ethe no. 1977.
'Abdallah b. Sha'ban b. Haydar al-Ashtarjani
Folios extant in ms.:
Estimated num folios in ms.:
Columns x Rows:
4 x 25
Page Size (h x w):
350 x 260 mm
Text Size (h x w):
230 x 160 mm
Colophon Folio:
Sample Page Folio:
Ms Type:
Ms Status:
Completion Status:
Ready to upload to website
Illuminations in ms:
Illustrations in ms:
1 ( 1 Shahnama )
Illustration Records in archive:
Last updated by:
Date last updated:
2010-11-30 16:39
Public Notes
There is only one completed illustration, numerous spaces are left for others, as listed by Robinson, Persian paintings in the Bodleian Library, 1958, pp. 74-6. The ms. was exhibited at Burlington House in 1931.
Project Notes
(Ethe, 1977)

Robinson (1958, pp. 74-76), suggests a comparison with Vatican Ms. Pers. 118 (written by the calligrapher ‘Ali b. Nizam al-Damghani in 848/1444 in Yazd), also with no illustrations executed, but with lots of blank spaces left.

The manuscript has a colophon (f. 539v) with the name of the calligrapher ‘Abdulla b. Sha’ban b. Haydar al-Ashtarjani and the date: 4 Sha’ban 852/11 October 1448.

Binding: very luxurious (Robinson: ‘magnificent’) binding, seems to be European, imitating Persian with probably original Persian doublure in filigree style. When rebound a lot blank flyleaves were added to the front and at the back. Some traces of the original binding can be seen reflected on the flyleaf that formerly was the last one (now f. 540v).

The actual European binding has black leather outside covers decorated with a stamped design of a big central prolongated cartouche with a lion killing a bull in the middle and four corner decorations depicting a deer or a tiger/lion. A thin frame of floral design goes along the rim. The rather big flap has an image of a lion and a lioness and two deer – male and female. Inside covers are executed in filigree technique of dark brown leather over a blue and gold paper background.

Condition and order: The manuscript in very good condition. It could be restored in Europe; when rebound the order of leaves was disturbed.

A flyleaf in the front (f. 2) on both sides (sic) has very odd reflections of the illuminations which used to be on the pages opposite to them. The illuminations were similar to those on ff. 3v-4r: maybe they are the remains of a former frontispiece. In the bottom left corner of f. 2v there is a number (539) in European foliation. The manuscript suffered from water, especially at the beginning. It is now kept in a box with a label inside, saying that it was provided by the Friends of the Bodleian.

Provenance: flyleaf f. Ir has an inscription in pencil “bought from Quaritch for £ 36 in April 1886” and a stamp of the International exhibition of Persian art, London 1931. There are several seals, two in a shape of royal Ottoman tughra (f. 3r), some (like the one under the colophon) are scratched out.

Illuminations: ff. 3v-4r – double page illumination with the beginning of the prose introduction: sipas-u sitayish-i khuday-ra.... The incipit of the poem (f. 7v) is decorated with a comparatively small 'unvan, very rectangular, dark in palette with dominant very dark blue and small bits in terracotta, turquoise and gold.

The Introduction is rather short (ff. 3v-7r). The last story starts on f. 538r with the heading: Battle of Bizhan and Mahuy Suri. On f. 539r there is a short story (539r) started by the heading: Guftar andar ‘Umar Khatab va khatam-i kitab. Explicit standard (FA).

General Ref:
Norgren, J. & Davis, E. Preliminary index of Shah-nameh illustrations. University of Michigan. Ann Arbor. USA.
Dating Ref:
Colophon Extracted from the colophon of the work.
Origin Ref:
Robinson, B.W. A descriptive catalogue of the Persian paintings in the Bodleian Library. pp. 171 Clarendon Press. Oxford. UK.
Illustration Ref:
Robinson, B.W. A descriptive catalogue of the Persian paintings in the Bodleian Library. pp. 171 Clarendon Press. Oxford. UK.
Illustration in archive - 55     (back to top)
sample page
f. 003v
Illuminated title page (verso side) (1448)
f. 004r
Illuminated title page (recto side) (1448)
f. 010v
Kayumars enthroned (1448)
f. 016r
Faridun tests his sons (1448)
f. 020v
Zahhak hears Kava's complaint (1448)
f. 023v
The murder of Iraj (1448)
f. 031v
The birth of Zal (1448)
f. 054r
Rustam catches Rakhsh (1448)
f. 056r
Kay Qubad enthroned (1448)
f. 061v
Rustam relaxes after killing the dragon (1448)
f. 064v
Rustam's seventh labour: he kills the White Div (1448)
f. 075r
Tahmina visits Rustam's chamber (1448)
f. 086r
Rustam mortally wounds Suhrab (1448)
f. 090v
Siyavush in Sudaba's private quarters (1448)
f. 094r
The fire ordeal of Siyavush (1448)
f. 103v
Siyavush plays polo before Afrasiyab (1448)
f. 116r
Guruy executes Siyavush (1448)
f. 123r
Rustam kills Pilsam (1448)
f. 126r
Giv finds Kay Khusrau in Turan (1448)
f. 129v
Kay Khusrau crosses the Oxus with Farangis and Giv (1448)
f. 132v
Kay Khusrau's army besieges Bahman's castle (1448)
f. 141v
Farud learns of the approach of Tus (1448)
f. 149r
Kay Khusrau disgraces Tus (1448)
f. 156r
Fariburz and Ruhham seek a truce from Piran (1448)
f. 158r
The Turanians attack the Iranians' stronghold on Mount Hamavan (1448)
f. 166v
Rustam kills Ashkabus and his horse (1448)
f. 176r
Rustam kills Gahar Gahani (1448)
f. 186r
Akvan Div flings Rustam into the sea (1448)
f. 189r
Bizhan slaughters the wild boar (1448)
f. 191v
Bizhan comes to Manizha's tent (1448)
f. 219v
The armies of Turan and Iran facing each other (1448)
f. 223r
The second combat: Giv fights Guruy Zirih (1448)
f. 225r
The eleventh combat: Gudarz fights Piran (1448)
f. 229v
f. 238r
Kay Khusrau throws Shida to the ground (1448)
f. 245r
Kay Khusrau besieges Gang Dizh (1448)
f. 256v
The execution of Afrasiyab (1448)
f. 266v
Luhrasp enthroned (1448)
f. 272r
Gushtasp kills a dragon in Rum (1448)
f. 283v
Isfandiyar kills Bidarafsh (1448)
f. 293r
Isfandiyar's second labour: he fights the lions (1448)
f. 295r
Isfandiyar's fifth labour: he kills the Simurgh (1448)
f. 316r
Rustam shoots Isfandiyar in the eyes with a double-pointed arrow (1448)
f. 321r
Rustam kills Shaghad before dying (1448)
f. 372r
Shapur besieges the city of the Arabian King Ta'ir (1448)
f. 381r
Bahram Gur hunts in the company of Azada (1448)
f. 386r
Bahram Gur fights two lions to win the throne (1448)
f. 408v
Bahram Gur hunts lions (1448)
f. 420v
Anushirvan enthroned (1448)
f. 463v
Hurmuzd enthroned (1448)
f. 472v
Bahram Chubina kills the fleeing Sava Shah (1448)
f. 488r
Khusrau Parviz and Bahram Chubina dispute kingship rights (1448)
f. 506r
Bahram Chubina kills the monkey-lion (1448)
f. 508v
The captive Qulun mortally wounds Bahram Chubina (1448)
f. 519r
Barbad laments for Parviz (1448)