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Distributed for Gingko Library

Treasures of Herat

Two Manuscripts of the Khamsah of Nizami in the British Library

An illustrated reference book for students and scholars of Persian art, poetry, and literature.

With this book, Barbara Brend provides thorough consideration of two celebrated Persian manuscripts housed in the British Library. These two copies of the Khamsah (Quintet) a set of five narrative poems by twelfth-century poet Nizami, a master of allegorical poetry in Persian literature, were produced in Herat in the fifteenth century, one of the greatest periods of Persian painting. Although well known, the manuscripts have never before been written about in relation to each other. Brend tells the story of each poem and the painting that illustrates it, and she formally analyzes the images, placing them in their historical and artistic context.
The images from both highly prized manuscripts are beautifully reproduced in color, and the ownership history of one of the manuscripts—recorded in the form of seal impressions and inscriptions— is also included. Ursula Sims-Williams provides a translation and commentary of these important marks of ownership which identify the Mughal rulers Akbar, Jahangir, Shah Jahan, and Aurangzeb, among many others.

224 pages | 100 color plates | 9.5 x 11.5

Gingko Library Art Series

Art: Middle Eastern, African, and Asian Art

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"Brend’s Treasures of Herat performs a deep dive on the two manuscripts, providing unique insights into the purpose and the means used to produce them. . . . Brend’s summary of the tradition of Persian painting and survey of other royal 15th-century manuscripts makes Treasures of Herat a valuable introduction to the topic."

Asian Review of Books

Table of Contents


CHAPTER 1         Herat and the Timurids

CHAPTER 2         The Painting Tradition of Timurid Herat

CHAPTER 3         Manuscript and Illumination in Add. 25900

CHAPTER 4         Illustrations in Add. 25900

CHAPTER 5          Manuscript and Illumination in Or. 6810

CHAPTER 6          Illustrations in Or. 6810

CHAPTER 7          Conclusions on Add. 25900 and Or. 6810

APPENDIX A        Break-lines in Add. 25900 and Or. 6810

CHAPTER 8          Or. 6810: The Afterlife of a Manuscript 

APPENDIX B        Transcriptions of the Notes and Seals in Or. 6810 



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