A complete manuscript of high quality containing 243 folios measuring 37.9 x 23.5 cm. that constitute the first half of the Shahnama. Another volume that constitutes the second half of the epic is in the Chester Beatty Library, Dublin (Ms. D). The text is written in good nastaʿliq in four columns, twenty-five lines per page. The volume includes two double page illuminations, a number of smaller illuminations, and thirty paintings, one of which is a double page frontispiece (ff.1v and 2r). Twenty eight of the thirty paintings are signed by Moʿin Moṣavver, which are for the most part clever solutions to unique compositional problems. The two unsigned paintings are clearly not by Moʿin; one (f.141) is apparently by a follower of Moʿin, while another (f.232) is a later addition perhaps added when the volume was rebound in red leather in India during the Nineteenth Century.
Toronto, Aga Khan Museum, Acc.no. AKM00274. Previously in the Collection of Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan, Geneva, Ms.22.
The colophon indicates the text was completed in Jomādi II 1064/April - May 1654. Several of the paintings (folios 45v, 151 and 188) are dated 1065/1654-55. The inscription accompanying the illustration on folio 205v states that the first volume of the Shahnama, meaning the paintings therefor, were completed on 16 Šavvāl 1065/19 August 1655. The double page frontispiece (ff.1v and 2) was apparently completed afterward for it is dated Shaʿbān 1067/May - June 1657. The paintings in the second volume (Ms.D) were painted almost contemporaneously, for one of them is dated Moḥarram 1066/November 1655.
© Aga Khan Trust for Culture, Geneva
Anthony Welch, SA_1973, no. 57, first mentions this volume, and illustrates two of the paintings. He states that all except two of the paintings are signed by Moʿin, and makes reference to the mating volume in the Chester Beatty Library. In AK4_1978, ms.22, Welch describes the manuscript in more detail, and illustrates six of paintings. He attributes all of the paintings in the manuscript to Moʿin, with the exception of f.232 which he suggests may have been added to the manuscript when it was rebound in India in the nineteenth century, but offers no explanation as to why only one of the remaining paintings (f.141) is not signed by Moʿin.
Last Updated: May 19, 2011 | Originally published: May 19, 2011