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    Sale 7571

    Art of the Islamic and Indian Worlds

    8 April 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 208

    ABU'L QASIM FIRDAWSI (D. AH 416/1025 AD): SHAHNAMA

    SIGNED MUHAMMAD QASIM IBN MUHAMMAD MIRAK AL-HUSAYNI, PROBABLY ISFAHAN, SAFAVID IRAN, DATED JUMADA AL-'AWWAL AH 1050/AUGUST-SEPTEMBER 1640 AD

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    ABU'L QASIM FIRDAWSI (D. AH 416/1025 AD): SHAHNAMA
    SIGNED MUHAMMAD QASIM IBN MUHAMMAD MIRAK AL-HUSAYNI, PROBABLY ISFAHAN, SAFAVID IRAN, DATED JUMADA AL-'AWWAL AH 1050/AUGUST-SEPTEMBER 1640 AD
    Persian manuscript on gold sprinkled paper, 440ff. plus 4 fly-leaves, each with 25ll. of elegant black nasta'liq arranged in four columns with double black and gold intercolumnar rule, headings in red nastaliq, text in panels laid down between gold margins with blue rule on buff paper, 49 miniatures, some with slight flaking, smudging or fading of paint, opening bifolio with gold and polychrome illumination surrounding the text blocks which are arranged in reciprocating panels on gold ground, one space left in the middle of the text, presumabely for another illuminated headpiece, the colophon signed Muhammad Qasim ibn Muhammad Mirak al-Hussayni and dated Jumada al-'Awwal 1050, a later owner's seal throughout often blacked out at a later date, very minor areas of staining, otherwise good condition, in later brown morocco
    Text panel 10½ x 5 1/8in. (26 x 13cm.); folio 14 3/8 x 8 7/8in. (36.5 x 22.5cm.)


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    The colophon of this Shahnama is signed 'Muhammad Qasim ibn Muhammad Mirak al-Husayni my master' and is dated Jumada al-'Awwal AH 1050 (August-September 1640). Muhammad Qasim is a scribe whose only other recorded work is a copy of the Hadiqa of Sana'i, dated AH 1051 (1640-41), which he signed in precisely the same formation as in this Shahnama (Mehdi Bayani, ahval va asar-e khosh-nevisan, vol. III, Teheran, 1348 sh., p. 811).

    The miniatures can be attributed to Isfahan. The faces of some of these characters with their elongated eyes and wispy moustaches and the detailing of the animals including the elephant and the simurgh in the miniatures illustrated here all bear resemblance to a Shahnama in the John Rylands Library which is dated 1650 (B.W. Robinson, Persian Paintings in the John Rylands Library, London, 1980, no. 1481-1579, pp. 330-347). Typically for the period figures are somewhat large and the execution is often summary.

    B.W. Robinson mentions that a noteworthy feature of the John Rylands Shahnama as well as a copy in Trinity College Dublin (also dated 1650), that is also shared by the present example is the extensive use of silver in the miniatures (Robinson, op. cit., p. 330).

    The miniatures are as follows:

    f. 5 Hushang kills the snake with a rock (this episode is not in the authorised edition of the Shahnama)
    f. 6 Tahmurath fights the Divs
    f. 13 Faridun strikes Zahhak on the head with his mace
    f. 21 Manuchehr throws an arrow on Sam's back.
    f. 25 Sam goes to find Zal
    f. 55 Rustam kills Alkus (here Aklus)
    f. 65 Rustam and Suhrab meet
    f. 81 Siyavash and Afrasiyab in the Polo ground
    f. 92 Guruy cuts of Siyavash's head
    f. 108 Rustam at the court of Kay Khusraw
    f. 110 Kay Khusraw prepares his army to fight Afrasiyab
    f. 130 Bizhan kills Human
    f. 139 Fariborz kills Golbad son of Visa
    f. 145 Kay Khusraw orders Guruy-i Zerah and the other captured Turanians to be killed
    f. 154 Kay Khusraw kills Shida
    f. 161 Afrasiyab's family receive protection from Kay Khusraw
    f. 167 Gushtasp kills the wolf
    f. 170 Eliyas caught by Gushtasp
    f. 178 Zarir killed by Bidirafsh
    f. 183 Luhrasp killed by Arjasp's men
    f. 190 Isfandiyar kills the two wolves
    f. 191 Isfandiyar kills the dragon
    f. 192 The Magician caught by Isfandiayr
    f. 197 Arjasp killed by Isfandiyar
    f. 210 The combat between Rustam and Isfandiyar
    f. 219 The dying Rustam shoots Shaghad and the tree together
    f. 230 Iskandar comforts the dying Dara
    f. 233 Rushanak at the court of Iskandar
    f. 251 Mourning over Iskandar's coffin
    f. 262 Ardashir recognises his son Shapur playing polo
    f. 272 Shapur outside the fortress of Ta'ir
    f. 279 Bahram Gur hunting ostriches
    f. 283 Bahram regains the crown after killing the lions
    f. 287 Bahram hunting lions
    f. 299 Bahram kills the dragon
    f. 309 Nushirvan has Mazdak hanged
    f. 332 The daughter of the Chinese Emperor in Nushirvan's bed chamber
    f. 363 Bahram Chubina's battle with Sava Shah and his army
    f. 368 Bahram Chubina comes across a queen who tells him his future
    f. 373 Bahram Chubina has the killer of Ayin Gushasp hanged
    f. 380 Hurmuz killed in prison by Banduy and Gustaham
    f. 383 Bahram Chubina ascends the throne
    f. 402 Bahram Chubina murdered by Qolun
    f. 411 Khusraw outside Shirin's palace
    f. 418 Qubad ascends the throne
    f. 424 Khusraw murdered in prison by Mehr Hurmozd
    f. ... Rustam son of Hurmuz killed by Sa'd ibn Waqqas
    f. 438 Bizhan Tarkhan orders Mahuy's hands to be cut off before being killed

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