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The Tale and the Image Volume One. History and epic paintings from Iran and Turkey

Volume XXV
Eleanor Sims with contributions by Manijeh Bayani and Tim Stanley

Published 2022

This volume is devoted to the Collection’s illustrated manuscripts and detached folios with historical and heroic epic subjects. Produced in Iran, India and Turkey, they date from the early 14th to the 20th centuries; many are of major artistic importance. A number of folios in the Collection come from manuscripts of Firdawsi’s Shāhnāmah. Among them are a single folio from the Ilkhanid ‘Great Mongol’ Shāhnāmah and 10 from the Shāhnāmah executed for Shah Tahmasp. Complete illustrated manuscripts of Firdawsi’s epic include a splendid copy, with 62 paintings, dated AH 1011 (AD 1602). The Collection also has illustrated folios from several dispersed but significant works of universal and dynastic history, including two from the earliest surviving illustrated copy of the Ẓafarnāmah of Sharaf al-Din Yazdi. One especially important painting is a later 15th-century vision of the Prophet Muhammad and his companions in the company of Moses and the Virgin and Child.

The entries on 93 manuscripts and detached folios are accompanied by essays, including one reconstructing the Safavid Tārīkh-i Jahān-gushā-yi Khāqān-i Ṣāḥib-Qirān and its illustrations; on early copies of the Shāhnāmah; on Shāhnāmahs illustrated by Mu‛in Musavvir; and on two complete copies once in the Mughal royal library.

About the author(s)

Dr Eleanor Sims – Editor of the journal Islamic Art (originally Co-editor with her late husband, Professor Ernst J. Grube). Her special expertise is Islamic painting, a subject on which she has written extensively, including many ground-breaking works.

Manijeh Bayani – specialist in Persian and Arabic epigraphy who has contributed 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. He is a specialist in Islamic manuscript production, calligraphy and the decorative arts and has a longstanding interest in Ottoman culture.


422 pages; fully illustrated in colour; section on inscriptions with translations; hardback with dust jacket (slipcased); 36 x 26cm; 2022; ISBN 978-1-874780-80-9



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