The Windsor Shahnama of 1648
- PUBLISHED: March 2008
- SUBJECT LISTING: Art History
- BIBLIOGRAPHIC INFORMATION: 255 Pages, 8.5 x 13.25 in, 221 illus., 51 in color
- ISBN: 9781903470534
The Shahnama (Book of Kings), which chronicles the history of Iran from the Creation to the Islamic conquest, was written by the poet Firdawsi at the turn of the eleventh century. Its central importance to Iranian culture is reflected in the thousands of copies made since then, many superbly illustrated and produced for royal and other powerful patrons. One of these copies, presented to Queen Victoria in 1839, is one of the finest treasures among the collection of Islamic manuscripts now in the Royal Library at Windsor Castle. Its 148 colorful images show heroes, mythical beasts, and bloody combats and are complemented by particularly sumptuous marginal illumination in gold.
B. W. Robinson relates the history of the Shahnama’s composition, and describes the Windsor manuscript and the circumstances under which it came to Britain. He also provides a lively summary of the narrative to accompany black-and-white illustrations of every painting. Over 50 of these are also shown in full-color plates. Eleanor Sims discusses in detail the likely attribution of the paintings in the Windsor volume, and compares other seventeenth-century Shahnama manuscripts; she also examines the wider cultural milieu reflected in the paintings.
Authors & Contributors
B. W. Robinson (1912–2005) was an authority on many aspects of Islamic and Japanese art. Eleanor Sims, formerly of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the editor of Islamic Art, has written widely on Iranian art. Manijeh Bayani is a specialist in Arabic and Persian epigraphy.
Chapter One: The Windsor Shahnama of 1648, B.W. Robinson with contributions by Manijeh Bayani
The Narrative and its Illustrations, B.W. Robinson
Chapter Three: The Windsor Castle Shahnama: Patronage and Productions, Eleanor Sims
Appendix I: Dynasties and Kings in the Shahnama
Appendix II: The Barzunama Interpolation in the Qarajaghay Khan's Shahnama
Appendix III: 17th-Century Illustrated Manuscripts of the Shahnama
Appendix IV: Technical Observations on Qarajaghay Khan's Shahnama