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Identification and Creation
Object Number
2002.50.127
Title
Illuminated frontispiece, right-hand side of a bifolio from a manuscript of the Khulasa al-Akhbar
Other Titles
Series/Book Title: Khulasa al-Akhbar
Classification
Manuscripts
Work Type
manuscript folio
Date
16th century
Places
Creation Place: Middle East, Iran
Persistent Link
https://hvrd.art/o/97368
Physical Descriptions
Medium
Ink, opaque watercolor and gold on paper
Dimensions
29.5 x 17.5 cm (11 5/8 x 6 7/8 in.)
Provenance
[Mansour Gallery, London, 1994], sold; to Stanford and Norma Jean Calderwood, Belmont, MA (1994-2002), 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
2002.50.127
Division
Asian and Mediterranean Art
Contact
am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu
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Descriptions
Description
Together with # 2002.50.126, these pages served as the opening to a manuscript of the Khulasat al-akhbar (Quintessence of Histories), the first historical work of Ghiyath al-Din ibn Humam al-Din Khvandamir, composed in 1499–1500 in Herat. The work is an abridged version of the Rawdat al-safa (Garden of Purity), by the famous Timurid historian Mirkhvand, who was Khvandamir’s grandfather.
The text of this frontispiece, written in white nasta'liq script, conveys blessings and gives the title of the work and a very short description of its nature: that it presents, “in the best words of historians, the annals of prophets and kings, starting with Adam.” The rich illumination combines floral scrollwork, cloudbands, and abstract medallion-and-pendant and trefoil forms on a blue-and-gold ground. The pages mirror each other, forming a lavish introduction to the manuscript.

Published Catalogue Text: In Harmony: The Norma Jean Calderwood Collection of Islamic Art , written 2013
102 A–B

Double page: Illuminated frontispiece from a manuscript of the Khulāṣat al-akhbār by Khvandamir
Central Asia or Iran, 16th century
Black ink, opaque watercolor, gold leaf, and gold on paper
A. Verso: 29.5 × 17.5 cm (11 5/8 × 6 7/8 in.)
2002.50.127
B. Recto: 28.8 × 17.5 cm (11 5/16 × 6 7/8 in.)
2002.50.126

These pages served as the opening to a Manuscript of the Khulāṣat al-akhbār (Quintessence of Histories), the first historical work of Ghiyath al-Din ibn Humam al-Din Khvandamir, composed in 1499–1500 in Herat. The work is an abridged version of the Rawḍat al-ṣafāʾ (Garden of Purity), by the famous Timurid histo-rian Mirkhvand, who was Khvandamir’s grandfather.[1]

The text of this frontispiece, written in white nastaʿlīq script, conveys blessings and gives the title of the work and a very short description of its nature: that it presents, “in the best words of historians, the annals of prophets and kings, starting with Adam.”[2]

The rich illumination combines floral scrollwork, cloudbands, and abstract medallion-and-pendant and trefoil forms on a blue-and-gold ground. The pages mirror each other, forming a lavish introduction to the manuscript.

Mika M. Natif

[1] Browne 1929, 3:434.
[2] Adam’s story begins on 2002.50.126v, which has twenty lines to the page, written in black ink with gold decoration and set within an orange, blue, and gold composite frame.

Publication History

Mary McWilliams, ed., In Harmony: The Norma Jean Calderwood Collection of Islamic Art, exh. cat., Harvard Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 2013), p. 241, cat. 102A, ill.

Exhibition History

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

Related Works

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