The Great Mongol Shahnama
By Professor Robert Hillenbrand
The Shahnama or Book of Kings is the Persian national epic. It was completed by the poet Firdausi in about 1010 and runs to some 60,000 verses. Over 500 illustrated manuscripts of this text, produced over the last seven centuries, survive. They include the Great Mongol Shahnama, created in Iran in the 14th century. This Shahnama is incontestably the finest of the surviving manuscripts—for many it is the outstanding masterpiece of the entire Iranian tradition of book illustration.
This publication, The Great Mongol Shahnama, reunites the paintings of this manuscript, which are scattered in collections across the world. State-of-the-art photography showcases these masterpieces in their full glory, from the vivid colours down to the minute brushstrokes of the medieval artists. The text, written by Professor Robert Hillenbrand, is the culmination of twenty-five years of research and explores the many facets of this mesmerising work of art.
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Co-published by Hali Publications Ltd. and the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art, and supported by Qatar Museums.