THE Department of Oriental Manuscripts and Printed Books has recently acquired an unusual, and stylistically rare, illustrated copy of the Shahnama (Book of Kings) by Firdawsi (Or. 13859). The latter part of the manuscript, which might have included a colophon, is missing but the miniatures appear to be in the late Timurid style of Transoxiana of which so little has survived and which has hitherto not been represented in the collection. Two artists have worked on the manuscript. Artist A in a bold style with large figures whilst Artist B is responsible for more refined work. The miniatures by Artist B are forerunners of sixteenth-century Bukhara work before it was influenced by artists, working in the Later Herat style, who went to Bukhara after the conquest of Herat by the Shaybanid Uzbeks early in the sixteenth century. This would place the manuscript in the late fifteenth or very early sixteenth century.
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