ms.B, no. 3-276

ms.B, no. 1-126
David Collection, f.8a
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Manuscript B

A semi-dispersed manuscript of high quality characterized by its marginal text being written on a diagonal. It is not certain how many paintings the volume originally contained, but 42 are currently known. All except two, which are both frontispieces, are signed by Moʿin Moṣavver. The present rebound truncated core of the volume contains 355 folios with 27 paintings and one illumination. There are also at least 15 loose pages with paintings that were apparently separated from the volume prior to 1941. Each folio contains 29 lines of text within the inner borders, and a band of text written on a diagonal that forms a border on the three outer margins.

The rebound truncated core of the volume containing 355 folios with 27 paintings is in the David Collection in Copenhagen. 15 additional loose pages apparently separated from the core volume many years ago are in various collections: four in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, two each in the Harvard Art Museum and Khalili Collection, one in the British Museum, four in private collections, and one whose present whereabouts is unknown.

Page and Written surface dimensions.

- The recto of the frontispiece illustration of a youth, which was the end of the first half of the Shahnama, is a colophon containing the date 2 Ẕuʾl-Qaʿda 1058/18 November 1648. This, undoubtedly, refers to the completion of the text to that juncture.
- An inscription on 2-172 contains the date Ramażān 1059/September 1649, which is the date that painting was completed.
- The inscription on 3-195 contains the date 20 Rabiʾ II 1060 / 22 April 1650, the date that painting was completed.

This manuscript has apparently been confused by some historians with other manuscripts of the Shahnama (ms.D and ms.E) which also have paintings signed by Moʿin. For further elaboration click here.

The most comprehensive study of this manuscript to date was first published by Sheila Canby in the Journal of the David Collection in 2010, where, among other accomplishments, brought to print for the first time the core volume and its 27 paintings, and united them with the dispersed leaves known previously. The original 2010 article, entitled An Illustrated Shahnameh of 1650: Isfahan in the Service of Yazd is reproduced on this site for download in PDF format. A digitized updated version of her article is linked herewith. Much of the information cited on this page was derived from Ms. Canby's work, and we herewith wish to acknowledge that fact, and express our gratitude for her collaboration in posting it on this website.

Robert Eng
Last Updated: January 23, 2014 | Updated: May 19, 2012. |
Originally published: March 22, 2011.

ms.B, no. 2-172

ms.B, no. 2-320

ms.B, no. 3-030
ms.B, no. 3-230_1

ms.B, no. 3-230_2
David Collection, f.114b

ms.B, no. 3-346

ms.B, no. 4-306

Double Page Finispiece/Frontispiece
Standing man, standing woman


Esfandiyār Slays the Simorgh


Rostam and Esfandiyār Hand-Wrestle

ms.B, no. 4-318

ms.B, no. 5-133
ms.B, no. 5-208

ms.B, no. 6-052
ms.B, no. 6-158
ms.B, no. 5-130
David Collection, f.149b
ms.B, no. 2-059
ms.B, no. 1-168
David Collection, f.13a
ms.B, no. 1-270
David Collection, f.24b
ms.B, no. 1-328
David Collection, f.32a
ms.B, no. 2-014
David Collection, f.39b
ms.B, no. 2-049
David Collection, f.44a
ms.B, no. 2-087
David Collection, f.102b
ms.B, no. 2-347
David Collection, f.74b

ms.B, no. 2-370
David Collection, f.78a

ms.B, no. 3-091
David Collection, f.91a

ms.B, no. 3-195
David Collection, f.109b

ms.B, no. 3-293
David Collection, f.121b

ms.B, no. 5-127
David Collection, f.149b

ms.B, no. 5-272
David Collection, f.211a

ms.B, no. 5-288
David Collection, f.214b

ms.B, no. 4-050
David Collection, f.136b

ms.B, no. 4-099
David Collection, f.144b

ms.B, no. 4-100
David Collection, f.145a

ms.B, no. 4-176
David Collection, f.157a

ms.B, no. 6-183
David Collection, f.237a

ms.B, no. 6-410
David Collection, f.258b

ms.B, no. 7-388
David Collection, f.295b

ms.B, no. 9-084
David Collection, f.350a

ms.B, no. 6-263
David Collection, f.243b

ms.B, no. 4-268
David Collection, f.41a