Books

Sotheby’s to supply Sixteenth-century folio from Persian ‘Guide of Kings’

London – The Shahnameh – or ‘Guide of Kings’ – made for Shah Tahmasp of Persia (r.1524-1576) is without doubt one of the best illustrated manuscripts in existence. The monumental quantity encompasses the best epic of Persian literature, containing 50,000 rhyming couplets and recounting the historical past of all of the rulers of Persia from the nation’s historical legendary beginnings. Probably the most lavishly illustrated copy of the Tenth-century poem in existence, it was illustrated over 20 years from 1520 to 1540 by the best artists within the royal atelier. No different Persian murals, other than structure, is assumed to have value a lot or consumed a lot time on the a part of the artists. The outcome was an unparalleled achievement and is without doubt one of the biggest artistic endeavors on the planet.

This October, the magnificent Shah Tahmasp Shahnameh folio will make a uncommon look at public sale as a part of Sotheby’s biennial Arts of the Islamic World and India public sale, provided with an estimate of £4,000,000 to £6,000,000. The scene exhibits the nice hero Rustam recovering his horse Raksh – named after the Persian phrase for lightning – two of the primary figures all through the story.

The manuscript boasts an illustrious provenance from the time it was commissioned to the current day. It was commissioned by one emperor, Shah Ismail (the primary of the Safavids), accomplished by one other, his son and successor Shah Tahmasp, given to a 3rd, Sultan Selim II of the Ottoman Empire, and later owned by one of many nice bibliophilic households of the trendy period. , the Barons de Rothschild, whose collections included masterpieces such because the Belles Heures of the Duc de Berry and the Hours of Catherine of Cleves. Right now, the Shahnameh folios are held in museum collections internationally, together with the Metropolitan Museum of Artwork in New York; the Smithsonian Establishment in Washington; The Aga Khan Museum, Toronto; The David Assortment, Copenhagen; The Nasser D. Assortment of Islamic Artwork. Khalili, London; Museum of Islamic Artwork, Doha and Museum of Modern Artwork, Tehran.

“Shah Tahmasp’s Shahnameh is an ideal encapsulation of artistry, patronage and wonder – universally acknowledged as one of many best illustrated manuscripts of any interval or tradition and ranks among the many world’s biggest artistic endeavors.” The report for any Islamic work on paper is held by a folio of the identical manuscript, offered at Sotheby’s in 2011, and so the uncommon look of one other at public sale represents a wonderful alternative for collectors on this subject and past. — Benedict Carter, Sotheby’s Head of Islamic and Indian Artwork

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