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Washington, D.C., Freer Gallery of Art (in index)
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Sample Illustration
Accession Number:
Gregorian Date:
18th century (late)
Gift of Charles Lang Freer.
Folios extant in ms.:
Columns x Rows:
4 x 25
Page Size (h x w):
331 x 203 mm
Text Size (h x w):
214 x 121 mm
Colophon Folio:
Ms Type:
Ms Status:
Completion Status:
Ready to upload to website
Illuminations in ms:
Illustrations in ms:
19 ( 19 Shahnama )
Illustration Records in archive:
Last updated by:
Date last updated:
2008-11-05 18:25
Public Notes

A late Mughal period manuscript in gold tooled brown leather binding, doublures of gold palmettes. The ms has 604 folios, and four illuminated pages; it was purchased from Col. H.B. Hanna.

The text is divided into two parts, each introduced by a pair of illuminated pages (ff. 1v-2r, 342v-343r). The first fols. 2v-16v are decorated with interlinear gold, as are pages with paintings. The paper is thin, brown and very smooth. Margins are ruled in thin blue, space, thin red, space, 2 thin black, space, gold, space, very thin black. Columns are ruled in 2x two thin black with gold, the intercolumnar space blank. The rubrics are ruled in two thin black with gold.

There is no Preface; the text of the Shahnama starts immediately on f. 1v. The verses are not always easily identified, the break-line either not found, or occurring at some distance from the break-line after the picture, suggesting that the paintings have been pasted or painted over the text (this is to be confirmed).

The paintings are very fine, highly detailed and richly coloured, with liberal use of gold, generally of a quality superior to the rest of the ms. Most paintings, on recto side, are preceded by one or two pages in chalipa (diagonal) script.  

Investigated by L.W., July 2006,and Ch.M., November 2008.

Project Notes
Dimensions done by Ch.M. Nov. 2008.

NB to record explicit.

There are several numbering systems on display, incl. a European foliation, starting at end (bottom right of 'verso' pages).

Illustration in archive - 22     (back to top)
f. 000
f. 001v
Illuminated title page (verso side)
f. 013r
Jamshid sawn in half before Zahhak
f. 026r
The head of Iraj is brought to Faridun
f. 068r
Rustam's third labour: he kills a dragon
f. 103r
The fire ordeal of Siyavush
f. 293r
The Iranians repel Afrasiyab's night attack
f. 309r
Kay Khusrau's champions lost in the snow
f. 312r
Gushtasp seeks work in Rum with the smith Burab
f. 342v
Illuminated title page (verso side)
f. 359r
Rustam shoots Isfandiyar in the eyes with a double-pointed arrow
f. 364v
Rustam kills Shaghad before dying
f. 377r
Iskandar attends the dying Dara
f. 387v
Iskandar enthroned with Taynush
f. 388r
Iskandar with Queen Qaydafa and her court
f. 399r
Iskandar mourned
f. 441v
Bahram Gur goes to the house of the jeweller
f. 449r
Bahram Gur fights the Khaqan of Chin
f. 499r
Buzurjmihr shows the Indian how to play backgammon
f. 532v
Bahram Chubina at the castle of the Fortune Teller
f. 588r
The death of Shiruy
f. 593r
Sa'd-i Vaqqas kills Rustam