IBNA- A detached folio from a 682-year-old copy of the 'Shahnameh' (Persian Book of Kings), Ferdowsi’s epic masterpiece, was unveiled at the World Art Museum in Tehran on Monday.
The manuscript was commissioned by Qavam ad-Din Hasan, a minister to the Injuid governor of Fars, Abu Is’haq, in 741 AH (1341 AD), as stated in its colophon.
On its two sides, the 30 X 37-cm folio carries the story and illustration of Nushzad and Rambarzin, Tehran Times reported.
“Qavam brought together several persons to create one of the most embellished copies of the 'Shahnameh' with 104 illustrations,” said art expert Ali-Asghar Mirzaimehr.
The manuscript consisted of 325 pages written in naskh by calligrapher Hasan ibn Mohammad ibn Ali ibn Hosseini who wrote under the pseudonym “Museli”.
An art dealer namely Dikran Kelekian purchased the manuscript from a dentist and exported it to Europe nearly 102 ago. To make much more money, he detached all the folios from the book, and sold each one to collectors around the world.
Mirzaimehr said that some Persian manuscript experts have noted that the illustrations in the book were drawn by a single artist, but they were created by different artists in a state-run art workshop.
He also added, “Qavam ad-Din Hasan commissioned the artist to create the manuscript in 741 AH before he had been appointed as a minister by the Injuid governor. At that time he was just an intellectual who served as an official in the Injuid court.”
“Before he was appointed as a minister, he had a powerful desire to produce a copy of the 'Shahnameh'. Consequently, we believe that he had many other achievements or created several other copies of the Shahnameh, which have since disappeared over time,” the expert explained.
Detached folios from the rare manuscripts are preserved in the world’s major collections, including the Harvard Art Museums and Brooklyn Museum.
Among the scholars confirming the authenticity of the folio is Shahnameh expert Amir Arghavan who attended the unveiling ceremony.
He said that many fake manuscripts of the Shahnameh have recently been produced and added, “However, our surveys verify the genuineness of the folio and we are certain that it dates back to the Injuid period.”