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Shahnama Project : Shahnama


Shahnama Project

<p style='text-align: justify;'><p>The volume is heavy and the binding is in very poor condition, gold-tooled&nbsp;with uncut edges, in&nbsp;modern Persian morocco (470 x 260 mm). The outside covers have an elongated medallion, pendants&nbsp;and corner angles, surrounded by panels stamped with floral patterns and bound by a double gilt cording&nbsp;(Simsar). The binding is very tight, and the back cover (board) is now (November 2008) detached from the book. The doublures are of plain paper.</p><p>The original Indian pagination of the manuscript re-starts with the beginning of the poem (f. 7v = f. 2v) and then occasionally disappears. The whole ms. was paginated by Ch. Melville in November 2008. The ms. is not fully trimmed, so that the instructions for the wording of the rubrics are still visible in many places, e.g. at f. 75v and onwards, and especially in the last 100 folios or so.</p><p>The ms. starts with&nbsp;the &apos;older&apos; (Abu Mansuri) preface, ff. 1v-6r, including the&nbsp;satire on Sultan Mahmud. The Shahnama begins on f. 7v, following two blank pages (ff. 6v-7r),&nbsp;under an illuminated heading. The text is in four sections (daftar), each starting under an illuminated unvan, as follows:</p><p>Daftar 1, ff. 7v-131r. Fols. 131v-132r are blank.</p><p>Daftar 2, ff. 132v-249v. Fol. 250r blank.</p><p>Daftar 3, ff. 250v-377r. Fols. 377v-378r are blank.</p><p>Daftar 4, ff. 378v (story of Anushirvan). Note that the Indian pagination starts again (at 1) in daftar 4.</p><p>The paper is thick glazed native paper, crackly and polished with a dull finish, slightly resembling parchment.</p><p>Marginal frames are ruled in gold, black and blue: the outer frame is two thin black; the inner is dark blue, space, two thin black, thick gold, space, dark black. The columns are ruled in two thin black lines, as are the rubric boxes. Headings are written in crimson nasta&apos;liq, with some traces of gold ornament in floral patterns.</p><p>Simsar does not list the 44 miniatures contained in the ms.; he regards these as the&nbsp;work of a single artist of the Mughal school, and painted &apos;much later&apos; than the copying of the manuscript, which he dates to the second half of the 18th century.&nbsp;This claim needs to be substantiated: the painting and illumination seem to be typical Kashmiri work all of a piece with the text.</p><p>Neither the final colophon nor the endings of the previous three daftars contain any information about the copying of the text.</p><p>See the catalogue of Simsar, pp. 89-90.</p></p>

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