A King’s Book of Kings (1972) (1st ed)


A King’s Book of Kings (1972) (1st ed)


Title: A King’s Book of Kings: The Shah-Nameh of Shah Tahmasp

Author: Stuart Cary Welch

Publisher: Thames and Hudson, in association with the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1972.

Condition: Hardcover, with slipcase. Slipcase shows slight wear, book in near fine condition with only a small inscription to ffep and no other defect. Profusely illustrated. A very large, oversized book. Overseas shipping will cost extra.

SKU: shahtahmasp Categories: , , Tag:


Selections, enlarged, from the Shah Nameh of Shah Tahmasp.

About the Shahnameh of Shah Tahmasp (from Wikipedia):

The Shahnameh of Shah Tahmasp (Persian: شاهنامه شاه‌طهماسب‎) or Houghton Shahnameh is one of the most famous illustrated manuscripts of the Shahnameh, the national epic of Greater Iran, and a high point in the art of the Persian miniature. It is probably the most fully illustrated manuscript of the text ever produced. When created, the manuscript contained 759 pages, 258 of which were miniatures. These miniatures were hand painted by the artists of the royal workshop in Tabriz under rulers Shah Ismail I and Shah Tahmasp I. Upon its completion, the Shahnameh was gifted to Ottoman Sultan Selim II in 1568. The page size is about 48 x 32 cm, and the text written in Nastaʿlīq script of the highest quality. The manuscript was broken up in the 1970s and pages are now in a number of different collections around the world.

The huge scale of the work, which consisted of 759 pages total including 258 miniatures, would have required help from all the leading artists of the royal workshop. Some of the artists identified are Mir Sayyid Ali, Sultan Mohammad, Mizra-Ali (son of Sultan Mohammad) Aqa Mirak, Mir Musavvir, Dust Muhammad, and likely Abd al-Samad. A number of artists have been identified from their style by scholars but are not known by name. Each page size is about 48 x 32 cm with text written in quality Nastaʿlīq script. The style of the miniatures varies considerably, though the quality is consistently high. Although many of the miniatures have mythical motifs, they also depict everyday objects that would have been common in the Safavid period in Iran. This makes the miniatures unique to a specific time and place. The manuscript shows the fusion of the styles of the schools of Herat, where the Timurid royal workshops had developed a style of classical restraint and elegance, and the painters of Tabriz, whose style was more expressive and imaginative.