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(Iranian, c. 1510–1555)
Opaque watercolor, ink, gold, and silver on paper
Sheet: 47.5 x 32.2 cm (18 11/16 x 12 11/16 in.); Text area: 28.4 x 18.5 cm (11 3/16 x 7 5/16 in.)
Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. Fund 1988.96.b
The 50,000 rhyming couplets of the Shahnama tell the story of ancient kings of Iran.
Begun at the end of the reign of Shah Ismail (reigned 1501–24), first king of the Safavid dynasty of Iran, this copy of the Shah-nama (Book of Kings) was completed during the reign of his son Shah Tahmasp. Unparalleled in scope and refinement, the book included 259 paintings by master artists in the royal workshop. Two calligraphers copied the text in an elegant, flowing nasta‘liq script. In 1568, Shah Tahmasp gave this book as a gift to the Ottoman sultan Selim II of Turkey.
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