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Book of Kings (Shahnama)
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Book of Kings (Shahnama)

Description Conservation Exhibitions Provenance Credit
Description Walters manuscript W.600 is an illuminated and illustrated Safavid copy of the Book of kings (Shahnamah) by Firdawsi (died 411 or 416 AH/AD 1020-1025), dating to the 10th century AH/AD 16th. The text is largely written in black Nasta'liq script with headings in blue on a polychrome ground. The codex opens with an illuminated medallion (fol. 1a), followed by a double-page illuminated frontispiece (fols. 1b-2a), poorly preserved. The preface, ordered by Baysunghur in 829 AH/AD 1425-1426, begins on fol. 2b. The Shahnamah text begins on fol. 14b with an inscribed illuminated titlepiece. It is divided into 2 parts. Eighteen paintings illustrate the text. The black lacquer binding with lobed central ovals and pendants is not contemporary with the manuscript and dates to the 13th century AH/AD 19th.
Date Description Narrative
12/31/1969Loan Considerationexamined for condition
12/31/1969Loan Considerationexamined for loan
  • Mything Persons: Historic Figures in Legends of East and West. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1998.
  • Paradise Imagined: Images of the Garden in the Islamic and Christian World. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. 2012.
  • From Rye to Raphael: The Walters Story. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. 2014-2016.
Provenance Ahmad [date and mode of acquisition unknown] [seal impression with name on fol. 1a]; Unknown owner, 1789 [mode of acquisition unknown] [ownership entry dated 12 Jumadá I 1204 AH/AD 1789 on fol. 1a]; Henry Walters, Baltimore [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters

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10th century AH/AD 16th century (Safavid)
ink and pigments on laid paper covered with black lacquer with gold
(Manuscripts & Rare Books)
Accession Number
Folio H: 12 13/16 x W: 7 1/2 in. (32.5 x 19 cm); Closed H: 13 × W: 8 7/16 × D: 3 3/16 in. (33 × 21.5 × 8.1 cm); Open H: 13 × W: 14 9/16 × D: 6 1/8 in. (33 × 37 × 15.5 cm)
  • Iran (Place of Origin)
Location Within Museum
Not On View


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