Folios from this manuscript are attributed to Sultanate India based on the style of the figures, as well as similarities with the script of the late 15th century Ni’mat-nama in the British Library (IO Islamic 149). Three leaves from this manuscript sold as part of the Stuart Carey Welch collection, Sotheby’s London, 12 December 1972, lots 175-5. Further folios sold at Sotheby’s London, 28 April 2004, lot 50, and Bonhams London, 17 September 2014, lot 184. Folios have also been sold in these Rooms, 16 October 1980, lot 55; 13 April 2010, lot 70; and 6 October 2011, lot 118. Another folio sold by Sotheby’s London, 9 October 2013, lot 211, and at the time was believed to be the only illustration from that manuscript which strays out of the text panel and into the margin, though the present lot also shares this distinctive feature.
Though the above folios have always been catalogued as a Khusraw-nama, the text here is taken from another of ‘Attar’s poems, the Asrar-nama. In the latter, brief anecdotes are used to reflect on the transience of existence and the vanity of material things. This illustration of 'Ali - a paradigm of pious virtue - slaying a lion was therefore intended to speak to this theme of spiritual striving. The appearance of a different text however suggests that this manuscript may have actually been a compendium of 'Attar's poetry.