© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Identification and Creation
Object Number
2002.50.4
People
Qasim, Persian
Title
Illuminated frontispiece (illuminated text, recto; text, verso), left-hand side of a bifolio from a manuscript of the Shahnama by Firdawsi
Classification
Manuscripts
Work Type
manuscript folio
Date
16th century
Period
Safavid period
Culture
Persian
Persistent Link
https://hvrd.art/o/165388
Physical Descriptions
Medium
Black ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on off-white paper
Dimensions
38.2 x 25.6 cm (15 1/16 x 10 1/16 in.)
Provenance
[Mansour Gallery, London, by 1994 or 1995], sold; to Stanford and Norma Jean Calderwood, Belmont, MA (1994 or 1995 - 2002), gift; to Harvard Art Museums, 2002.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, The Norma Jean Calderwood Collection of Islamic Art
Accession Year
2002
Object Number
2002.50.4
Division
Asian and Mediterranean Art
Contact
am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu
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Descriptions
Description
The recto of this folio is the left half of a frontispiece from a copy of the Shahnama. Written in white nasta'liq script within the central medallion are lines of Baysunghur Mirza’s introduction to Firdawsi’s epic. The illumination consists of abstract curvilinear motifs in blue and gold overlaid with sinuous cloudbands and colorful floral scrolls. To the right of the inner rectangle, at the midpoint of the blue ruling, a tiny inscription in white reads, amal-i Qasim (made by Qasim), probably referring to the illuminator.
In design and palette, this frontispiece is comparable to others produced in Iran and Central Asia in the second half of the sixteenth century. For comparison see 2002.50.127 and 2002.50.126 at the Harvard Art Museums.

Published Catalogue Text: In Harmony: The Norma Jean Calderwood Collection of Islamic Art , written 2013
112

Qasim
Left half of an illuminated double-page frontispiece
Folio from a manuscript of the Shāhnāma by Firdawsi
Recto: illumination, with text from Baysunghur Mirza’s introduction
Verso: text
Iran or Central Asia, 16th–17th century
Black ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on off-white paper
Folio: 38.2 × 25.6 cm (15 1/16 × 10 1/16 in.)
2002.50.4

The recto of this folio is the left half of a frontispiece from a copy of the Shāhnāma. Written in white nastaʿ līq script within the central medallion are lines of Baysunghur Mirza’s introduction to Firdawsi’s epic.[1]
The illumination consists of abstract curvilinear motifs in blue and gold overlaid with sinuous cloudbands and colorful floral scrolls. To the right of the inner rectangle, at the midpoint of the blue ruling, a tiny inscription in white reads, amal-i Qāsim (made by Qasim), probably referring to the illuminator.
In design and palette, this frontispiece is comparable to others produced in Iran and Central Asia in the second half of the sixteenth century (see, for instance, cat. 102 A–B).

Mika M. Natif

[1] See Riyāḥi 1993, 364.

Publication History

Mary McWilliams, ed., In Harmony: The Norma Jean Calderwood Collection of Islamic Art, exh. cat., Harvard Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 2013), pp. 247-248, cat. 112, ill.

Exhibition History

In Harmony: The Norma Jean Calderwood Collection of Islamic Art, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 01/31/2013 - 06/01/2013

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art at am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu