An illustrated  manuscript of the Shah Namah that may have belonged to Jahangir

(downloaded Oct. 2001)

"ABU'L QASIM FIRDAWSI (D. AH 416/1025 AD): SHAHNAMEH. Khorassan, circa 1570. Persian manuscript on light buff paper, 549ff. with 25ll. of black nasta'liq in four gold-outlined columns, titles in red, opening gold and polychrome illuminated bifolio, catch words in black, with seventy six miniatures in gouache heightened with gold, opening flyleaf with gold floral illumination and roundel containing seal impression inscribed Shah Beg ibn Mirza beg Ataliq, library inscriptions stating that the Shahnameh was bought and entered the library on 4th isfandarnadh, regnal year 11 with seal impression dated 1032, slight flaking of miniatures, slight water staining, otherwise very good condition, later tan morocco binding with gold tooled medallions and spandrels. Folio 14¼ x 9½in. (36 x 24.2cm.); text area 9½ x 5¾in. (24.2 x 14.5cm.).

Lot Notes: This Shahnameh was produced for an Uzbek patron. The name on the seal on the opening flyleaf is Shah Beg ibn Mirza Beg Ataliq, as yet unidentified. The style of the miniatures is close to Qazwin, but the very strong colours and style of some of the headdresses suggest Herat. The miniatures are the work of three or more artists, and some of the subjects chosen for inclusion are unusual. A close comparisom can be made with a near contemporaryShahnameh dated around 1576-7, (Robinson, B.W.: Persian and Mughal Art, Colnaghi exhibition catalogue, London, 1976, pp. 32-47).

The library note may be Mughal, because of the way a Persian month is used and the style of writing, and may have belonged to the Emperor Jahangir. The name of the seal bearer is Rashid Khan, but there is no record of an official with this name at the court of Jahangir. The miniatures begin with (f.3a), Firdawsi in the presence of Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni with three courtiers."

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