Firdausi, Shahnama, The Book of Kings, a large illuminated manuscript of Persian poetry, illustrated with a double-page frontispiece depicting the court of King Solomon and with 46 miniatures, copied by Ahmad Shah, the eldest son of the deceased Ramatullah MARGARET North India, probably Kashmir or Punjab, dated Thursday 21st Jumada II 1256/20th August 1840
Lot 29
Firdausi, Shahnama, The Book of Kings, a large illuminated manuscript of Persian poetry, illustrated with a double-page frontispiece depicting the court of King Solomon and with 46 miniatures, copied by Ahmad Shah, the eldest son of the deceased Ramatullah North India, probably Kashmir or Punjab, dated Thursday 21st Jumada II 1256/20th August 1840
Sold for £43,250 (US$ 71,718) inc. premium
Auction Details
Firdausi, Shahnama, The Book of Kings, a large illuminated manuscript of Persian poetry, illustrated with a double-page frontispiece depicting the court of King Solomon and with 46 miniatures, copied by Ahmad Shah, the eldest son of the deceased Ramatullah MARGARET North India, probably Kashmir or Punjab, dated Thursday 21st Jumada II 1256/20th August 1840 Firdausi, Shahnama, The Book of Kings, a large illuminated manuscript of Persian poetry, illustrated with a double-page frontispiece depicting the court of King Solomon and with 46 miniatures, copied by Ahmad Shah, the eldest son of the deceased Ramatullah MARGARET North India, probably Kashmir or Punjab, dated Thursday 21st Jumada II 1256/20th August 1840 Firdausi, Shahnama, The Book of Kings, a large illuminated manuscript of Persian poetry, illustrated with a double-page frontispiece depicting the court of King Solomon and with 46 miniatures, copied by Ahmad Shah, the eldest son of the deceased Ramatullah MARGARET North India, probably Kashmir or Punjab, dated Thursday 21st Jumada II 1256/20th August 1840 Firdausi, Shahnama, The Book of Kings, a large illuminated manuscript of Persian poetry, illustrated with a double-page frontispiece depicting the court of King Solomon and with 46 miniatures, copied by Ahmad Shah, the eldest son of the deceased Ramatullah MARGARET North India, probably Kashmir or Punjab, dated Thursday 21st Jumada II 1256/20th August 1840 Firdausi, Shahnama, The Book of Kings, a large illuminated manuscript of Persian poetry, illustrated with a double-page frontispiece depicting the court of King Solomon and with 46 miniatures, copied by Ahmad Shah, the eldest son of the deceased Ramatullah MARGARET North India, probably Kashmir or Punjab, dated Thursday 21st Jumada II 1256/20th August 1840
Lot Details
Firdausi, Shahnama, The Book of Kings, a large illuminated manuscript of Persian poetry, illustrated with a double-page frontispiece depicting the court of King Solomon and with 46 miniatures, copied by Ahmad Shah, the eldest son of the deceased Ramatullah
North India, probably Kashmir or Punjab, dated Thursday 21st Jumada II 1256/20th August 1840
Persian manuscript on paper, 424 leaves, 36 lines to the page written in four columns of clear nasta'liq script in black ink, double intercolumnar rules in gold, inner margins ruled in beige, blue and gold, some blank panels intended for miniatures, headings written in nasta'liq script in red within rectangular panels decorated with illuminated cornerpieces in blue and gold, one double-page illuminated frontispiece and four headpieces in colours and gold, remargined at a later date, some worming, some crude repairs, later reddish-brown leather gilt with Persian title stamped in gold on spine, worn, some worming, doublures and flyleaves of patterned paper
leaf 490 x 290 mm.; text area 365 x 188 mm.

Footnotes

  • The miniatures are as follows:
    1. Firdausi and the court poets of Ghazni.
    2. Firdausi at the court of Sultan Mahmud (Padishah Nasir al-Mulk).
    3. The court of the Caliph of Baghdad with Firdausi in attendance.
    4. Shaykh Abu'l Qasim Gurgani visiting the tomb of Firdausi.
    5. A double-page frontispiece depicting the court of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba.
    6. Tahmuras enthroned.
    7. Jamshid slain, watched by Zuhhak.
    8. Zuhhak taken as a prisoner before an enthroned Faridun.
    9. Sam discovering his infant son Zal on Mount Alburz with the Simurgh.
    10. Zal holding the Simurgh's feather whole Rudabeh gives birth to Rustam.
    11. A mounted Rustam arriving at a palace.
    12. Rustam fighting Afrasiyab.
    13. Rustam killing the witch.
    14. Rustam killing the White Div to obtain blood from its liver to restore the sight of Kai Ka'us.
    15. A griefstricken Rustam realises that he has killed his son.
    16. A scene from the story of Sudabeh tempting Siyavush.
    17. A scene from the story of Siyawush and Farangis.
    18. Garvi cutting Siyawush's throat as Garsivaz catches the blood in a bowl.
    19. Kai Khusrau, Farangis and Giv crossing the Oxus river.
    20. Farud (son of Siyavush and Jarireh, half-brother of Kai Khusrau) fighting and being killed by Bizhan.
    21. Rustam visting Tus to help him.
    22. Rustam catching the horse of Changish by the tail in battle.
    23. Rustam lassooing the Khaqan of Chir in battle.
    24. Rustam hurled, while asleep, into the sea by Akvan.
    25. Rustam arriving at a fortress.
    26. Barzu, grandson of Rustam, saved by his mother from Rustam.
    27. Rustam embraces Kai Khusrau.
    28. Gudarz killing Piran in battle.
    29. Kai Khusrau killing Shida (Pashang) after wrestling with him on a hillside.
    30. Afrasiyab held prisoner before Hum.
    31. The disappearance of Kai Khusrau from the camp in a snowstorm.
    32. Gushtasp, son of Lahrasp, fighting the dragon.
    33. Shah Lahrasp in battle on a hillside.
    34. Isfandiyar killing the dragon as it tries to swallow his chariot.
    35. Isfandiyar killing the lions/tigers.
    36. Isfandiyar killing the witch.
    37. Isfandiyar killing the Simurgh.
    38. Rustam shooting Isfandiyar in the eyes with his forked arrow.
    39. Rustam impaled in the pit of spears, and shooting Shaghad through the tree.
    40. The accession of Iskandar (Alexander the Great).
    41. Bahram Gur (Bahram V) entertained in a pavilion.
    42. Anushirvan (Chosroes I) setting out to Rum.
    43. Buzurjmihr (d. circa 580-90) counsellor of Anushirvan.
    44. Saveh killed by Bahram Chubin.
    45. Khusrau Parviz (Chosroe II, d. 628) in battle.
    46. The murder of Khusrau Parviz.

    The scribe is not recorded. The date of completion is given three times, in different wordings and numerals. The second colophon is written at the end of the third book of the text and is dated 1255, written as 5512. The scribe has included extra verses at the end of both colophons referring to the lasting nature of written words and the mortality of the scribe (in both Arabic and Persian), and asking God for forgiveness.
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