The Shahnama from which this lot comes was produced at the Inju court in Shiraz in AD 1341. The colophon of this manuscript, now in the Sackler Gallery, Washington D.C. (formerly Vever Collection), names the scribe as Hasan b. Muhammad b. 'Ali from Mosul. It is dedicated to Qivam al-Din Hasan, vizier to Abu Ishaq, the last of the Inju dynasty, who was killed in 1357 by the Muzaffarids. Qivam al-Din was the patron of the poet Hafiz, and was eulogised by him in his work (Glenn D. Lowry, An Annotated and Illustrated Checklist of the Vever Collection, Washington, 1988, pp.69-77).
The miniatures are in a style which was already old-fashioned in the second quarter of the 14th century; new influences in Northern Iran had brought the artists of Tabriz a more sophisticated style, as is shown by the great Mongol (Demotte) Shahnama, produced in 1333. The distinctive Inju style with plain red, blue or yellow backgrounds and a familiar wall-painting format bears a greater debt to the Mesopotamian school than to Chinese painting. Patterned robes, as can be seen from the present lot, are also more typical of the earlier period, as are the rather static court scenes represented. It is in the script that this manuscript looks forward; the elongated naskh points forward to the style of calligraphy known as nasta'liq which was to become standard in Persian manuscripts around a century later (Abolala Soudavar, Art of the Persian Courts, New York, 1992, no. 14, pp. 43-44).
Five leaves from this manuscript (including the present) were sold in these Rooms, 15 October 1996, lots 122-126.