view archive:
Washington, D.C., Freer Gallery of Art (in index)
Click the boxes to tag/un-tag this page in a workbook

Sample Illustration
Accession Number:
Hijri Date:
1010 Sha'ban 29
Gregorian Date:
1602 February 21
Ex libris James Caulfield, via India.. Many seals on fol. 1r.
Folios extant in ms.:
Columns x Rows:
4 x 22
Page Size (h x w):
381 x 220 mm
Text Size (h x w):
238 x 132 mm
Colophon Folio:
Sample Page Folio:
Ms Type:
Ms Status:
Completion Status:
Ready to upload to website
Illuminations in ms:
Illustrations in ms:
34 ( 2 frontispiece(s) 2 finispiece(s) 30 Shahnama )
Illustration Records in archive:
Last updated by:
Date last updated:
2008-05-27 10:56:55
Public Notes

Manuscript in a modern binding of red-brown leather with blind and gold tooling; doublures of marbled paper. The edges of the pages are gilded. The spine has an inscription, the Shahnama of Firdausi, in gold.

There are three library seals (f.1r), and the bookplate of James Caulfield. The ms. was purchased from Col. H.B. Hanna, no. 13 in the catalogue of the sale, gift of Charles Lang Freer. Previously listed as SI. 1591 and F07.279.

The pages are badly worm eaten at both ends of the text. A glossary has been inserted at the front (2 fols.). The ms. opens with the start of the Baysunghuri Preface, on an illuminated double-page opening (ff. 1v-2r), followed by a double frontispiece of Solomon and Bilqis (ff. 2v-3r), and the continuation of the prose preface on f. 3v-9r. The text of the Shahnama starts on f. 9v, incipit normative, under a richly ornamented unvan and on an illuminated page.

The text is richly decorated, with the columns alternating pale blue and gold to left and right, and orange and gold in the centre. The margins are elaborately ruled in grey/blue, space, 2 thin black, thick gold, thick grey/blue, crimson, pale blue, small space, tomato red, 2 thin black with gold lines. The rubric boxes are generally only of one line, outlined in black, with a gold ground; but also some floral panels (e.g. f. 13r). Titles are written in white nasta'liq.

The number of lines per page varies (22 on the sample page, f. 11r), but later more often 25 lines.

On the whole, the text conforms closely to the printed editions, at least in the pasages round the paintings, although in two places (ff. 397r, 434r) the verses cannot be identified in the editions of Dabir-Siyaqi or Mohl.

Preliminary investigation by Ch.M., lines recorded by L.W., July 2006.

Illustration in archive - 35     (back to top)
f. 002v
Sulayman enthroned (frontispiece) (1602)
f. 003r
Bilqis enthroned (frontispiece)
f. 022v
Jandal, Faridun's envoy, before the King of Yemen
f. 041v
Rudaba lets down her hair for Zal to climb up
f. 051v
The birth of Rustam
f. 067v
Rustam's third labour: he kills a dragon
f. 070r
Rustam's seventh labour: he kills the White Div
f. 087r
Rustam discovers Suhrab's identity
f. 094v
The fire ordeal of Siyavush
f. 103v
Siyavush plays polo before Afrasiyab
f. 113v
Guruy executes Siyavush
f. 125v
Kay Khusrau crosses the Oxus with Farangis and Giv
f. 149r
Ruhham overcomes Bazur the Turanian wizard
f. 161r
Rustam overturns Chingish by seizing the tail of his horse
f. 173r
Puladvand lifts Giv and Tus from their saddles
f. 190v
Rustam and Bizhan defeat Afrasiyab in battle
f. 210v
The second combat: Giv fights Guruy Zirih
f. 238r
Kay Khusrau crosses Lake Zara
f. 250r
Luhrasp enthroned
f. 271v
Gushtasp learns about the killing of Luhrasp
f. 288r
Rustam kicks aside the rock pushed by Bahman
f. 297v
The Simurgh heals Rustam's wounds
f. 323v
Iskandar writes to the Fur of Hind
f. 354r
The battle between the armies of Shapur and Rum
f. 373v
Bahram Gur fights two lions to win the throne
f. 397r
Bahram Gur and Mahyar listen to Arzu's harp playing
f. 410v
Anushirvan executes Mazdak and his followers
f. 434r
Anushirvan receives the Khaqan's daughter
f. 452v
Anushirvan besieges the Rumis in Aleppo
f. 483r
Bahram Chubina's night attack on the camp of Khusrau Parviz
f. 519r
Shiruy's followers find Khusrau Parviz in the garden
f. 532r
Sa'd-i Vaqqas kills Rustam
f. 539v
Finispiece (verso side)
f. 540r
Finispiece (recto side)