Shahnameh (Book of kings) was composed by the revered Iranian poet Abū al-Qāsim Firdawsī (940–1020). The book recounts in verse the mythological history of ancient Persia and tales of the famous heroes and personalities of Iranian history, from legendary times to the 7th-century reign of Yazdegerd III, the last king of the Sassanid dynasty. Considered the national epic of Iran, the book was widely read throughout the Persian-speaking world. This manuscript copy was made in India in the 17th or 18th century. The text is written in nastaʻliq script in four columns of 25 lines. The text begins on folio 1b with rubrication and gold interlinear decoration up to folio 3a; folios 1b and 2a have an elaborate border of grape decoration in various shades of green and gold. Catchwords are on the recto pages. The paper is a cream-colored Eastern laid paper. Black ink is used, with highly decorated major ʻunwāns (title pages); minor ʻunwāns are in gold ink, now very faded. Full-page paintings illustrating scenes from the text appear on folios 1a, 144a, 193b, 412b; half-page paintings are on folios 10a, 10b, 127a, 157b, 193a, 230a, and 409a; two small paintings are in the lower corners on folios 133a and 402a.

Last updated: September 30, 2016