Firdausi (d. 1020 AD). Shahnama

Safavid Iran, Shiraz, circa 1590-1600

Large Persian manuscript on paper. 723 leaves plus 2 fly-leaves, 22 lines to the page text arranged in 4 columns, written in nasta’liq script in black ink, titles in white script against a gold ground. One frontispiece on folio 1. Incomplete Shahnama including interpolated epics such as the Barzounama. 20 miniature paintings, The manuscript originally had 30 miniatures. Colophon with the apocryphal date AH 900/AD 1494-95 (possibly 990H./1582-83?). Stamp of the Iranian Customs dated in Solar Hijra 1306/AD 1928. Gilt-stamped Safavid binding with fine polychrome and red leather inside flap. In a later leather box.

Dimension page: 37.5 x 25 cm; Thickness manuscript: 9.5 cm; Text panel: 23 x 13.5 cm; Box: 39 x 27 x 10 cm; Weight: 5.200 kg

Provenance: E. Sassoon, 22 rue Drouot, Paris, circa 1930

To be sold at auction in Cherbourg (Maître Samuel Boscher), on Sunday 1st August 2021, lot 283

This illuminated manuscript contains 20 illustrations: Fol. 14a: Fariydun takes Zahhak prisoner; Fol. 47b: Rostam fights the white elephant; Fol. 63b: Rostam fights Afrasiyab; Fol. 73b: Rostam fights the white Div in front of Awlad prisoner; Fol. 98b: Rostam and Sohrab; Fol. 155a: Siyavash decapitating the enemy in battle; Fol. 189b: Forud fights Giv; Fol. 239a: The combat of Rostam and Puladvand; Fol. 242a: The Div Akvan throws Rostam into the sea; Fol. 260b: Rostam fights the black div; Fol. 291b: Gudarz fights Piran; Fol. 308b: Kay Khusraw slays Shideh ; Fol. 334a: The death of Afrasiyab; Fol. 386b: Esfandiyar slaying two wolves; Fol. 429b: Rostam and Esfandiyar; Fol. 439a: Rostam and Rakhsh fall into the pit laid by Shaghad; Fol. 597a: The army of Khosraw Anushirvan storms a Byzantine fortress; Fol. 656b: Hormozd sends a distaff to the disgraced Bahram Chubineh; Fol. 708b: Khosrow killed by Mehr Hormozd on the order of his son; Fol. 716a: The Sassanid general Rostam fights Sa’d.