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Ouseley Add. 176
Oxford, Bodleian Library (in index)
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Sample Illustration
© The Bodleian Library, Oxford
Accession Number:
Ouseley Add. 176
Gregorian Date:
1425 (circa)
Sir Gore Ouseley collection, 1858. Ethe no. 501. Seals of previous owner on f. 468v.
Ibrahim Sultan b. Shah Rukh
Folios extant in ms.:
Columns x Rows:
4 x 31
Page Size (h x w):
288 x 198 mm
Text Size (h x w):
222 x 147 mm
Sample Page Folio:
Ms Type:
Ms Status:
Completion Status:
Ready to upload to website
Illuminations in ms:
Illustrations in ms:
51 ( 8 frontispiece(s) 42 Shahnama 1 other [ Firdausi and poets ] )
Illustration Records in archive:
Last updated by:
Date last updated:
2010-02-08 18:40
Public Notes

A part of the original covers is preserved, and probably the doublures of filigree work maybe hidden behind modern plain thick blank paper. The spine is modern, with the title stamped in gold. The manuscript, which belonged to Sir Gore Ouseley, has been disbound and the text folios are now loose within the covers. The illustrated folios were removed and stored in glass plates in 1952. There is some disorder of the opening folios containing the frontispieces and drawings (in the glass plates), which are numbered out of their correct sequence.

The ms. has 468 folios, measuring 288 x 198 mm, written area 222 x 147 mm, with the text arranged in 4 columns, and 31 lines per page.

Illuminations: ff. 16v-17r, double illumination, with sarlauh; ff. 17v-18r, illuminated double page, with the opening verses of the poem (incip. normative); ff. 238v-239r, double page illumination. The name of the illuminator, Nasr al-Sultani, is given on f. 17v. The decorations on the introductory pages of a version of the prose preface, added later, were never carried out.

The text rubrics are of two main designs, with a dense and detailed ornamentation, one written in black letters against a black or dark brown and gold design, the other in gold letters against a lighter design of blue and red flowers. There are often several per page, generally alternating; see e.g. f. 21r, with two black and gold and one blue and red panel.

Blocks of chalipa (diagonal) text generally precede the paintings in the text (e.g. at f. 80r-v).

For a description of this important early Timurid ms., see Stchoukine, Les peintures des manuscrits Timurides, 43, and Robinson, Persian paintings in the Bodleian Library, 16-22. See also F. Abdullaeva & Ch. Melville, The Persian Book of Kings: Ibrahim Sultan's Shahnama, Oxford, 2007.

General Ref:
Sims, E. The illustrated manuscripts of Firdausi's Shahnama commissioned by princes of the house of Timur. (in Ars Orientalis) 22 (1993) pp. 43-68
General Ref:
Stchoukine, I. (DEL) La peinture des manuscrits Timurides. Paris. France.
General Ref:
Norgren, J. & Davis, E. Preliminary index of Shah-nameh illustrations. University of Michigan. Ann Arbor. USA.
Dating Ref:
Robinson, B.W. A descriptive catalogue of the Persian paintings in the Bodleian Library. pp. 171 Clarendon Press. Oxford. UK.
Origin Ref:
Stchoukine, I. Les peintures des manuscrits Timurides. Paris. France.
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 - 63     (back to top)
f. 001v
Frontispiece (recto side) (1430)
f. 002r
Frontispiece (recto side) (1430)
f. 002v
Miscellaneous preliminary material (1430)
f. 003r
Miscellaneous preliminary material (1430)
f. 003v
Frontispiece (verso side) (1430)
f. 004r
Frontispiece (recto side) (1430)
f. 004v
Miscellaneous preliminary material (1430)
f. 006r
Frontispiece (recto side) (1420)
f. 006v
Miscellaneous preliminary material (1430)
f. 007r
Miscellaneous preliminary material (1430)
f. 007v
Frontispiece (verso side) (1420)
f. 012r
Shamsa (1425)
f. 012v
Illuminated unvan (1430)
f. 015r
Firdausi and the poets of Ghazna (1430)
f. 016v
Illuminated title page (verso side) (1430)
f. 017r
Illuminated title page (recto side) (1430)
f. 017v
Illuminated title page (verso side) (1430)
f. 018r
Illuminated title page (recto side) (1430)
f. 020r
Kayumars enthroned (1430)
f. 022r
Jamshid teaches the crafts (1430)
f. 024v
The Iranians place the Arab king Zahhak on the throne (1425)
f. 028v
Faridun with Jamshid's daughters (1430)
f. 030r
Zahhak bound on mount Damavand (1430)
f. 032v
Faridun tests his sons (1430)
f. 035r
The murder of Iraj (1425)
f. 040r
Manuchihr enthroned (1430)
f. 052r
Zal displays his skills before Manuchihr (1430)
f. 062r
Rustam catches Rakhsh (1430)
f. 063v
Rustam lifts Afrasiyab by the belt (1430)
f. 068v
Rustam's third labour: he kills a dragon (1430)
f. 069r
Rustam's fourth labour: he kills the witch (1430)
f. 070r
Rustam's sixth labour: he kills Arzhang (1430)
f. 071r
Rustam's seventh labour: he kills the White Div (1430)
f. 073r
The King of Mazandaran changes himself into a rock (1430)
f. 081r
Rustam rests after hunting on the Turanian border (1430)
f. 082r
Tahmina visits Rustam's chamber (1430)
f. 084r
Suhrab fights Hujir (1430)
f. 089v
The first combat of Rustam and Suhrab (1430)
f. 092r
Rustam mortally wounds Suhrab (1420)
f. 099v
Kay Kavus embraces Siyavush after the fire ordeal (1430)
f. 107r
Siyavush plays polo before Afrasiyab (1430)
f. 116r
Guruy executes Siyavush (1430)
f. 123v
Giv finds Kay Khusrau in Turan (1430)
f. 146r
Human fights Tus (1430)
f. 156v
Rustam kills Ashkabus and his horse (1430)
f. 164r
Rustam pulls the Khaqan of Chin from his elephant by lasso (1430)
f. 170r
Rustam wrestles with Puladvand (1430)
f. 172r
Rustam fights a sea monster (1430)
f. 175r
Bizhan slaughters the wild boar (1430)
f. 186r
Rustam asks Bizhan to forgive Gurgin (1430)
f. 216v
Kay Khusrau kills Aila (1425)
f. 232v
Zal and Rustam advise Kay Khusrau (1430)
f. 238r
Illuminated page (1425)
f. 239v
Miscellaneous preliminary material (1430)
f. 240r
Miscellaneous preliminary material (1430)
f. 263v
Isfandiyar's fifth labour: he kills the Simurgh (1430)
f. 272v
Rustam kicks aside the rock pushed by Bahman (1430)
f. 280v
Rustam retreats from his first battle with Isfandiyar (1425)
f. 282v
Rustam shoots Isfandiyar in the eyes with a double-pointed arrow (1430)
f. 309v
Iskandar and his troops take stones from the Black Mountain and emerge from the land of darkness (1430)
f. 311v
Iskandar and the talking tree (1430)
f. 337v
Bahram Gur hunts in the company of Azada (1430)
f. 342r
Bahram Gur fights two lions to win the throne (1430)