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MANUSCRIT PERSAN, SHÂHNÂMEH (LIVRE DES ROIS) DE FIRDOUSI FROM THE LIBRARY OF THE PRINCES OF TÂLESH (NOW THE REPUBLIC OF AZERBAIJAN), IRAN, SHIRAZ, SAFAVID ART, CA 1560 Ink, gouache and gold on a paper known as "dawlatâbâdî", from Dawlatâbâd, in the Deccan region of India, with 25 lines of text per page, written in nast'aliq and arranged in four columns. It consists of 500 folios (1000 pages) and a title page. The binding is in deerskin, "pust-e âhu", the outer boards decorated with stamped and gilt decoration, decorated with enamel elements (minakari), painted with pink rosettes on a black background, set in black painted leather borders. The back covers are sumptuous, with stamped and filigree decoration on a blue-lapis and green background. The enamel elements are not contemporary with the manuscript. However, thanks to a dated bookplate note that mentions them, we know that they were added before 1814. This Shâhnameh no longer has its miniatures or colophon. A PERSIAN MANUSCRIPT WITHOUT ILLUSTRATIONS : SHAHNAMA (BOOK OF KINGS) OF FIRDOUSI, FROM THE LIBRARY OF THE GOVERNORS OF KHANAT-I TÂLESH, IRAN, SHIRAZ, CIRCA 1560. ACQUIRED IN FRANCE BEFORE 1925. Manuscript size: 45 x 27.4 cm; written surface size: 25.6 x 14.7 cm. From the library of the Prince of Tâlesh (present-day Republic of Azerbaijan). French private collection, acquired before June 1925. Preserved since then in the same family. About the so-called "Dawlatabad papers": Y. Porter, "Notes sur la fabrication du papier dans le monde iranien médiéval (VIIIe-XVIe siècle)", Le papier au Moyen Age: histoire et techniques, Actes du colloque tenu à Paris 23-25 avril 1998, ed. Monique Zerdoun Bat-Yehouda (Bibliogica 19), Turnhout,Brepols, 1999, pp. 19-30. About Khânât-e Tâlesh: Mīîzâ Aḥmad Lankarânî, Akhbârnâma: târîkh-i Khânât-i Tâlish dar zamān-i jang-hâ-yi Râsâya ʿalayh-i Îrân, ed.ʿAlī ʿAbdulî, Tehran: Markaz-i Asnâd wa Târîkh-i Dîplumâsî, 1380/2001. Poursafar, Ali. Khanat-i Talish, Encyclopaedia of the World of Islam, Vol 1. p. 6798. Available at: Boradgahi, Saʿid Ali. Javâhir nâma-yi Lankarân, in Chahâr risâla dar zamîna-yi târîkh va jughrâfîyâ-yi Tâlish, ed. Ali Abdoli, Rasht: Gîlakân, 1378. About the Sâmnâma: Sâmnâma, ed.Vaḥîd Rûyânî, Tehran: Markaz-i Pizhûhishî-i Mîrâs-i Maktûb, 2013. Julia Rubanovich, "SÂH-NÂMA vi. The Sâh-nâma as a Source for Popular Narratives,", In Storytellers' Scrolls (Ṭumâr), in Encyclopædia Iranica,online edition, 2015, available at: The text of this Shâhnâmeh is almost complete, despite the absence of its colophon and miniatures, from the turn of the century. Its artistic characteristics, both visual and textual, the sumptuousness of its binding and its monumental size, lead to its attribution to the productions of the workshops of Shiraz, at the time of the reign of Shah Tahmasp I. During the last decade of his reign, the workshops of Shiraz produced luxurious works with remarkable bindings, commissioned or intended for important personalities. CALLIGRAPHY AND ILLUMINATION The writing shows both maturity and great finesse. The titles are inscribed with a larger nast'aliq, in white ink highlighted with a black fillet. They are set in richly illuminated cartouches in blue, red and gold. Only folio 138v shows a variation in the decoration. The nine pages containing the main stories are particularly richly decorated, with triangular registers illuminated in blue, red and gold. THE RULING (MASTAR) Several colours are used for the framing lines, including gold, blues, orange and green. All the leaves show a gold ruling. DAWLATÂBÂDÎ" PAPER As one of the bookplate notes indicates, our manuscript is written on a paper called "dawlatâbâdî", originating from Dawalatâbâd, a region in southern India. It is distinguished by its durability and brilliance, which is visible in this volume. The use of this paper, whose use was reserved for prestigious manuscripts, together with the monumental size, the finesse of the calligraphy and the splendid binding, testify to the high rank of the recipient or patron of this Shahnamah. AN EXCEPTIONAL PREFACE The text begins with one of the most important prefaces (dibacha) to Shahnameh. It was written by the Timurid prince Baysunghur Mîrzâ (1399-1433), son of Shâhrukh and grandson of Timur, on the occasion of the Shâhnâmeh known as "Baysonghori", completed in 1430. This manuscript, preserved in the Golestan Museum in Tehran, Iran (MS 716), was classified by Unesco in 2017, in the register of the world's memory.
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