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Accession Number:
Add 835
Gregorian Date:
16th century (or next)
`Alam al-Din
Folios extant in ms.:
Columns x Rows:
4 x 25
Page Size (h x w):
293 x 194 mm
Text Size (h x w):
209 x 118 mm
Colophon Folio:
Sample Page Folio:
Ms Type:
Ms Status:
Completion Status:
Ready to upload to website
Illuminations in ms:
Illustrations in ms:
56 ( 52 Shahnama 1 Garshaspnama 3 Barzunama )
Illustration Records in archive:
Last updated by:
Date last updated:
2011-01-27 16:02
Public Notes
Provenance: The manuscript bears no indication of its previous owners, it is unknown even when and how it became a part of the collection of the Main library of the University of Cambridge.

European red leather binding, incorporating fragments of the original binding. The beginning of the manuscript was bound in the wrong order (may be during the restoraion). The volume is in quite good condition; in several places suffered from water damage; restored and remargined. Worm eaten in places. The paper is Oriental, thin matt creamy paper.

Date: the calligrapher, who mentions his name in the colophon (f.584v) as ‘Alam al-Din, does not write the date, when he finished his work. According to E.G.Browne, it was completed in the late 16th - early 17th century (catalogue, 1896, p. 290). ‘Alam al-Din was obviously a Persian trained professional, while the paper can betray the conventionally Indian origin of the manuscript.

Text status: the manuscript is incomplete in the beginning; none of the usual prefaces are present. Obviously the copy was never finished: it was prepared for the work of the painter, while the calligrapher was, probably, supposed to finish his part on the preface. Due to reasons, unknown for us, it did not happen. Text is divided into 4 daftars, being slightly interpolated. One of the interpolations contains the Barzunama.

Incipit and explicit of the poem are normative.

Manuscript has 584 folios in professional (commercial) ta‘liq script, written in Indian ink. Most of the scene headings are missing; those that exist are in red ink, often very crudely written. The text in 4 columns with 25 lines per page; page size: 293 x 194; text size: 209 x 118.

Illustrations: the copy contains 56 blank spaces left for paintings, which never were executed; one of them “Rustam Slays Ashkabus and His Horse” is actually filled in with a pen outline on f. 167v. This single sketch witnessed the very unusual composition of one of the most popular scenes for illustration. Ashkabus is much bigger that Rustam, being of the same size as his horse. Evidently they both – Ashkabus and his horse, which is lying upside down – are shot down, while he is still sitting on it. Both are covered with arrows.

There are also three empty spaces left for ‘unvans on ff. 1v, 189v (the story of Bizhan, starting section 2) and f 460v.

The selection of the subjects to be illustrated (according to the text and the nearest titles) is normative, and does not seem to offer any peculiar or unique scene for depiction. The miniatures were going to be displayed in the irregular intervals: from 1 folio (between, for example “Isfandiyar kills the wolf” (f.330r), “Isfandiyar kills the witch” (f.331v) and “Isfandiyar kills the Simurgh” (f.332r); to 48 folios, between “Tahmuras enthroned” (f. 5v) and “The birth of Rustam” (f. 53r).

General Ref:
Browne, E.G. A catalogue of the Persian manuscripts in the library of the University of Cambridge. Cambridge Univerity Press. Cambridge. UK.
Dating Ref:
Browne, E.G. A catalogue of the Persian manuscripts in the library of the University of Cambridge. Cambridge Univerity Press. Cambridge. UK.
Illustration in archive - 56     (back to top)
sample page
f. 005v
Tahmuras enthroned
f. 053r
The birth of Rustam
f. 079v
Kay Kavus airborne
f. 093v
Rustam mortally wounds Suhrab
f. 121r
Guruy executes Siyavush
f. 143r
Farud kills Zarasp
f. 150v
Rivniz dies, but Bahram saves his crown
f. 167v
Rustam kills Ashkabus and his horse
f. 171v
Rustam pulls the Khaqan of Chin from his elephant by lasso
f. 177r
Rustam pulls the Khaqan of Chin from his elephant by lasso
f. 188r
Akvan Div flings Rustam into the sea
f. 201v
Rustam rescues Bizhan from the pit
f. 203r
Rustam and Bizhan defeat Afrasiyab in battle
f. 232v
Scene from the Barzunama
f. 237v
Scene from the Barzunama
f. 241r
Scene from the Barzunama
f. 252r
Bizhan kills Human
f. 265r
The eleventh combat: Gudarz kills Piran
f. 276r
Kay Khusrau fights Shida
f. 278r
A full scale battle between the armies of Iran and Turan
f. 309v
Gushtasp kills a dragon in Rum
f. 313v
Gushtasp enthroned
f. 323r
Gushtasp puts Isfandiyar in chains
f. 330r
Isfandiyar's first labour: he fights the wolves
f. 331v
Isfandiyar's fourth labour: he kills the sorceress
f. 332r
Isfandiyar's fifth labour: he kills the Simurgh
f. 334r
Isfandiyar kills Gurgsar during the seventh labour
f. 352v
Rustam shoots Isfandiyar in the eyes with a double-pointed arrow
f. 354v
Isfandiyar mourned
f. 358r
Rustam kills Shaghad before dying
f. 370v
Iskandar enthroned
f. 376v
Battle between the armies of Iskandar and the Fur
f. 385r
Iskandar encounters Israfil
f. 388r
Iskandar returns from China
f. 392r
Ardavan disgraces Ardashir in their dispute over game
f. 395r
The execution of Ardavan by Ardashir
f. 398v
Ardashir Babakan enthroned
f. 409v
Shapur Dhu'l Aktaf enthroned
f. 418r
Yazdagird the Sinner enthroned
f. 420r
Bahram Gur hunts in the company of Azada
f. 422r
A sea monster kills Yazdagird
f. 424r
Bahram Gur, Munzir and Nu'man receive a Persian delegation at Jahrum
f. 425v
Bahram Gur enthroned
f. 429r
Bahram Gur in the dihqan's garden
f. 434v
Bahram Gur and Mahyar listen to Arzu's harp playing
f. 460v
Anushirvan enthroned
f. 488r
Anushirvan sits before the chessboard sent by the Raja of Hind
f. 494r
Talhand dies on the back of his elephant during the battle
f. 515v
Bahram Chubina kills the fleeing Sava Shah
f. 534r
Bahram Chubina enthroned
f. 559r
Shirin greets Khusrau Parviz on his way to the hunt
f. 561v
The musician Barbad plays for Khusrau Parviz
f. 570v
Mihr Hurmuzd murders Khusrau Parviz
f. 571r
Mihr Hurmuzd murders Khusrau Parviz
f. 575r
Yazdagird III enthroned
f. 583v
Bizhan kills Mahuy to avenge Yazdagird