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Part One: Eleanor Sims, with contributions by Manijeh Bayani, J.M. Rogers and Tim Stanley Part Two: Sheila S. Blair
The last two volumes of the four-volume catalogue of the non-Qur'anic material in the Collection covers some 250 illustrated manuscript and detached paintings from Iran and Turkey. The paintings, which range in date from the early 14th to the 19th centuries, include many items of major artisic importance.
The Collection contains several complete illustrated copies of Firdawsi's Shahnamah. Most notable among them is a splendid copy with 62 miniatures which is dated 1602. The presence of several Mughal seals and librarians' notes shows that it later passed into the royal Mughal library. Other illustrated manuscripts include several copies of the Khamsah of Nizami; a Divan of Hafiz dated 1658 with superbly illuminated margins and two exquisite paintings, one by Muhammadi and the other by 'Abd Allah al-Mudhahhib al-Shirazi; and a Bustan of Sa'di which was written in Tabriz in 1530, but was illuminated and bound in Istanbul shortly afterwards, where the double-page frontispiece was added.
The Collection includes a large group of detched paintings from the 14th and 15th centuries. Two of the finest are probably a page from the 'Great Mongol Shahnamah' and a long-lost 15th-century painting depicting the Prophet Muhammad and his companions together with Moses and the Virgin and Child.
Painting in Iran reached its zenith during the Safavid period, and the Collection is fortunate in having examples of the works of most of the greatest painters, including Muhammad Zaman, 'Ali Quli Jabadar, Shaykh 'Abbasi, Muhammad Qasim, Riza 'Abbasi, and Mu'in Musavvir. But pride of place belongs to the 8 folios from the Shahnamah painted for Shah Tahmasp. These folios will be the subject of one of the several important studies included in the volumes.
Ottoman paintings in the Collection include two folios from the Siyer-i Nebi ('Life of the Prophet') painted for Sultan Murad III in 1594-5; a copy of the Characteristics of the Ottoman Sulatns; an Ottoman royal genealogy beginning with Adam up to the reign of Mustafa II; and a drawing of a dragon in foliage in the style of Shah Qulu.
Dr Eleanor Sims is an eminent scholar and a leading authority on Persian painting; she is author of several works on the subject.
Dr Sheila S. Blair is an eminent scholar, author and lecturer, based in Richmond, NH; she is editor of the Islamic section of the Dictionary of Art.
(to be published)
fully illustrated in colour; section on documentary inscriptions with translations
35.5 x 25.5 cm
hardback with dust jacket (slipcased)
£89 $180 (each)