The Tale and the Image
Part One: History and epic paintings from Iran and Turkey



Eleanor Sims with contributions by Manijeh Bayani
and Tim Stanley

This volume is devoted to the Collection’s illustrated manuscripts and detached folios of the early 14th to the 18th centuries produced in Iran – religious, historical and heroic epic. Many images are of major artistic importance and come from texts of equal importance.
One painting of great significance is a later 15th century vision of the Prophet Muhammad and his companions in the company of Moses and the Virgin and Child. The Collection also has illustrated folios from several dispersed works of universal and dynastic history, including two from the earliest surviving illustrated copy of the Zafarnamah of Sharaf al-Din Yazdi, datedah 839 (ad 1436).
A number of folios in the Collection were detached from manuscripts of Firdawsi’s Shahnamah. Among these is one from the Ilkhanid ‘Great Mongol’ Shahnamah, perhaps the most remarkable of a large group of Shahnamah volumes produced in the 14th and 15th centuries.
In Iran, the art of manuscript illustration reached its zenith in the Safavid period (1501–1722). Pride of place among the holdings belongs to the 10 folios from the Shahnamah executed for Shah Tahmasp. There are also complete illustrated manuscripts of Firdawsi’s Shahnamah. One splendid copy, with 62 paintings, is dated ah 1011 (ad 1602).

About the author(s)

Dr Eleanor Sims – Editor, Islamic Art for the East-West Foundation, New York (originally Co-editor with her late husband, Professor Ernst J. Grube); special expertise is eastern Islamic painting

Manijeh Bayani – Specialist in Persian and Arabic epigraphy; contributor to most of the catalogues in the Nasser D. Khalili Collection of Islamic Art series

Tim Stanley – Senior Curator, Middle Eastern collection, Victoria and Albert Museum, London; specialist in Islamic manuscript production, calligraphy and the decorative arts and has a longstanding interest in Ottoman culture


fully illustrated in colour section on documentary inscriptions with translations, hardback with dust jacket (slipcased), 36 × 26 cm, Isbn: 978-1-874780-80-9

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