The following three lots all come from an important early manuscript commonly referred to as the 'Freer Small Shahnama', because the majority of the folios of the now-dispersed manuscript are in the Freer Gallery, Washington D.C. The manuscript dates from around 1300 and is amongst the earliest surviving illustrated copies of the famous epic.
On the basis of comparison of certain features such as the hats and foliage with manuscripts such as the Marzbanname (Chronicles of Marzban), dated 1299 and produced in Baghdad and the 1341 Inju Shahnama, executed at Shiraz, the manuscript is thought to have been produced circa 1300 probably at Baghdad under the patronage of Il-Khan Ghazan (Abolala Soudavar, Art of the Persian Courts, New York, 1992, p.37).The calligraphy of the manuscript, with the extended letter sins which herald a proto-nasta'liq indicating the lessening of eastern influences and an increase in Arab, suggests that this manuscript succeeds rather than pre-dates the First and Second Small Shahnamas (Barbara Brend and Charles Melville, Epic of the Persian Kings. The Art of Ferdowsi's Shahnama, Cambridge, 2010, nos.21-22, pp. 88-91).
The majority of leaves from this Shahnama were with Hagop Kevorkian in New York in the 1920s. The forty-five folios in the Freer Gallery were acquired from him between 1929 and 1940. Others leaves are in public and private collections including the Binney Collection, the Art and History Trust Collection and the Khalili Collection. Other folios have sold in these Rooms, 15 October 1996, lot 149 and 15 October 2002, lot 153.